Superfast Essex Programme Update - August 2016

faster

We did it - 65,000 now have superfast!

Superfast Essex End of Phase 1 Celebration

The Superfast Essex programme has successfully completed the first phase of its superfast fibre broadband rollout to 65,000 homes and businesses. Superfast download speeds of 24Mbps and above are available to 87% of Essex premises. The target was achieved three months earlier than scheduled with the programme finishing its £24.6million Phase 1 rollout at the end of June ahead of the original expected finish in September this year, after starting work in April 2014.

In that time 355 new green fibre cabinets have been installed across Essex and more than 600km of fibre cable has been deployed – enough to cover three and a quarter laps of the M25 or the distance from Braintree to Land’s End, in Cornwall.

The early finish of Phase 1 has allowed the programme to continue with the rollout efforts and move into the next phase of the programme (Phase 2) early. Engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, are now extending coverage to another 51,000 homes and businesses, thanks to a further £18.9million investment from ECC, BT, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and other local councils. The aim is to provide 95% superfast broadband coverage across the county by the end of June 2019 when the second phase of the BT rollout and Gigaclear’s Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project are completed.

Check the status of your area on our interactive map - if it's available contact a broadband provider and ask to switch to fibre.

Ultrafast rural network reaches 1,000

Gigaclear cabinet

Gigaclear has installed more than 1,000 fibre broadband pots in the Epping Forest District, marking an important milestone for the Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project.

More than 1,000 homes and businesses are now able to achieve broadband speeds of up to 1,000Mbps with Gigaclear's new ultrafast pure fibre network. Each pot provides a direct fibre connection from the boundary of a property to a fibre cabinet in the street. The project, which is due to conclude in early 2017, aims to reach more than 4,000 homes and businesses across 18 different parishes in the district.

Together with Gigaclear we've also produced a new downloadable brochure to provide more information about the work to install fibre cables and cabinets and reinstate pavements and verges. View or download the brochure at: www.superfastessex.org/ruralchallenge or www.gigaclear.com/superfastessex.

What's happening next for the final 5%?

Superfast Essex is now in the early stages of planning further work – a potential ‘Phase 3’. Around £4.5million from project savings and gainshare funds (received from BT in recognition of the strong take-up of services to date) is available to invest in extending superfast broadband coverage to those areas we currently haven’t been able to reach.

Our aim is to increase coverage to 97% of Essex by 2020. In addition, Tendring district is planning to make available funds of up to £2million to reach 100% coverage in that district.

We are currently conducting a fresh review of existing and planned broadband coverage across Essex to help us identify where the remaining 5% of homes and businesses are located. We’ll highlight these ‘white areas’ on a map to be put out to public consultation for your comments next month. Keep an eye on the ‘Where, when and how’ page of our website, and Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn channels for more details.

Have you met our friend Super Sam yet?

Super Sam with children at the Tendring Hundred Show

Super mascot, Super Sam has been making friends across the county, visiting Colchester, Chelmsford and the Tendring Hundred Show.

Super Sam is championing superfast broadband on behalf of Superfast Essex to let Essex residents know where superfast broadband is enabled and tell them what they need to do to access it.

The next location Super Sam plans to visit will be at the Essex Country Show at Barleylands Farm in Billericay. Superfast Essex will be at the show on Saturday 10th September and Sunday 11th September - although Super Sam may only be able to join us on Saturday. Be sure not to miss him! Listen out for further details soon, and look out for our posters and leaflets.

Watch our video of Super Sam at: www.superfastessex.org/supersam

Website changes

We're working on some changes to our website and interactive map so don't be alarmed if you notice things begin to look a little different! We're giving our website a refresh to make it more user-friendly and making some changes to our map to improve its functionality and appearance. Don't worry, we're not planning to change the colours again. We're always looking to improve our website, so feel free to contact us if you have any feedback.


Community Wi-Fi Scheme

A new scheme to enable community hubs in Essex to access superfast broadband is scheduled to be launched at the end of this summer. Superfast Essex will work with partners to bring Wi-Fi to community hub locations throughout the county.  Keep an eye out for details being added to our website.


Parish meeting

Superfast Essex held its latest Countywide Parish Engagement Event in July at Essex Record Office, in Chelmsford. More than 50 Parish and Town Council representatives and Broadband Champions joined us to hear an update on the programme and contribute in yet another lively and useful Q&A session. Our next Countywide Parish Engagement Event will be planned for the end of the year.

Countywide Parish Engagement Event - July 2016

SuperConnected Business

Superfast Essex held a free full-day business event in June at Chelmsford City Racecourse attended by 150 delegates. Essex businesses, UK telecoms companies, business leaders and digital experts attended the SuperConnected Business conference to recognise the benefits a fibre broadband connection can bring to business success. Copies of the presentations shown at the conference can be found on our website.

SuperConnected Business Conference

'Contact Us' form

To ensure we capture all the details required to research an enquiry thoroughly, and to allow us to reply more swiftly, we encourage enquirers to fill in the Contact Us form on the Superfast Essex website. We will no longer be replying to public enquiries from our Make the Connection email address. Any contact with the Superfast Essex team can be made using our form, so please don't hesitate to get in touch.


Remember to register online

Don't forget if you're not in our plans and you want superfast broadband, complete the Make the Connection Survey on our website.


Want to be a Broadband Champion?

Find out more about our current Broadband Champions, what the role involves and get in touch if you want to represent your community.

Check what events we're going to, or get in touch if you want us to join yours.