Phase 3 will target remaining white spots
We're now planning more work to help some of the remaining areas of Essex with the poorest connectivity gain access to superfast broadband.
Our new Phase 3 will extend superfast coverage beyond the 95% target set to be achieved with Phase 2 by 2019 (120,000 homes and businesses).
Up to £10million is available to invest. This is made up of savings from the existing programme, contributions from Tendring District Council and Uttlesford District Council, and a new Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) grant.
Over the summer we carried out a review of broadband provision with network operators and held a public consultation to identify the areas still requiring investment. Based on the consultation outcome we have created an interactive map of superfast broadband availability which will be used to shape the Phase 3 rollout plan. We launched a tender for this new programme on the 10th November.
The new investment will be focused in four areas, known as 'Lots'. These are:
Uttlesford - up to 5,500 premises
Central North - up to 4,500 premises
Tendring - up to 5,500 premises
South East - up to 8,500 premises
Exactly which areas will be included in the Phase 3 deployment will become clear in early summer 2017, when the procurement process is complete.
For more information about Phase 3 visit www.superfastessex.org/whatshappeningnext.
BT fibre rollout progressing on track
Work to rollout fibre broadband across the county under the current BT contract is continuing on track.
Following the head start in the summer after the early completion of Phase 1, Openreach has already reached a further 8,000 homes and businesses with the start of the Phase 2 network build, bringing the overall total number of homes and businesses enabled by BT to access superfast broadband in Essex to 73,000. The subsidised BT rollout, which is due to continue through to 2019, is expected to extend superfast coverage to 116,000 addresses.
The interactive map provides the most up to date information regarding the Phase 2 rollout. We expect to be able to reduce the current annual timescales to a shorter timeframe before the end of the 2016.
More rural communities being connected
Gigaclear is progressing well with its network build for the Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project.
The project in Epping Forest District has reached more than 1,600 homes and businesses in seven of 11 community areas being covered by the pilot project. Broadband operator Gigaclear is building a new fibre network providing services capable of speeds from 50Mbps up to 1000Mbps. Work in Bobbingworth, Fyfield, Norton Heath, Abbess Roding, and Toot Hill is now complete, and work is continuing in Stapleford Tawney, The Lavers and remaining communities.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the rollout, signing up to the ultrafast broadband network in Epping Forest District, or registering their interest in the service can do so at www.gigaclear.com/superfastessex.
Superfast Essex has launched a scheme to enable
local communities to access a public Wi-Fi service in community buildings or
infrastructure being upgraded across the county over the next few years we would like to support local communities to experience superfast speeds at
their local community hubs, encouraging them to see how it might benefit them
Under the scheme, community
hubs (such as village halls or community centres) can buy a broadband service
from two approved suppliers, APC Solutions or County Broadband.
Initial set up costs will be
supported by the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) and community hubs will
subsequently need to pay a monthly service charge. Up to £400 can be claimed per community hub by completing a short online form similar to the general CIF application process.
More information on the
Community Wi-Fi Scheme including costs and how to apply can be found at www.superfastessex.org/communitywifischeme
and application forms for funding for the Community Wi-Fi Scheme can be found
on the CIF website at www.essex.gov.uk/CIF.