Superfast Essex Programme Update - February 2017

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Phase 3 operator bids being evaluated

Superfast Essex is pressing ahead with the early planning stages of its Phase 3 rollout. This next phase of the county’s broadband programme aims to extend superfast broadband coverage beyond the existing target of 120,000 homes and businesses which is expected to be reached by the end of the current Phase 2a and 2b rollouts.

The programme team is currently working with independent consultants to evaluate responses from network operators who bid to carry out the Phase 3 work as part of a procurement exercise.

The tender, worth up to £10million, was open to all broadband technologies and split into four areas (known as ‘Lots’). Responses have been received for all four of them, so we hope to appoint delivery partner(s) for all Lots.

The scope of properties eligible for inclusion in Phase 3 is as follows:

  • 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

The exact number of properties to be reached will be determined through the procurement process.

We expect to select the network operator(s) we will work with and have more detailed plans to share in Spring/Summer 2017.

To find out if your property is one of those eligible for inclusion in Phase 3, check for a white circle on our interactive State Aid map at: www.superfastessex.org/whatshappeningnext.

BT’s fibre delivery boosts businesses

The programme’s planned fibre broadband rollout delivered by BT is progressing well.

The current delivery of Phase 2a of the programme has seen an additional 15,000 premises enabled to access fibre at superfast speeds since it began last summer, bringing the total number of homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband to 80,000. Phase 2a is due to complete in 2019, with an expected 116,000 addresses to receive a boost in superfast broadband connectivity.

Of the 80,000 premises connected, BT has brought high-speed fibre broadband more than 9,000 businesses across the county, giving a much needed boost to the local economy in some of the most rural areas of the county.

The technology can enhance the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new opportunities and customers, while opening up a host of new learning, entertainment and development opportunities for households.

Visit the interactive map to see the most up to date information regarding the Superfast Essex programme.

Progress

Ultrafast animals lead the way in Epping

Gigaclear is continuing to advance with its network build for the Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project (also known as Phase 2b) and has recently reached a significant milestone with more than 2,000 homes and businesses in the area now having access to its network.

The Animal County Club, and co-located Resting Pets, in the rural village of Moreton in Epping Forest District has become the 2,000th premises in the county to have access to an ultrafast fibre broadband service with internet speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).

Margaret Gemmill, Director of the site, said: "There are four pet-related businesses located on Wood Farm so being connected is extremely important to us. The Gigaclear service has improved the interconnection for the whole site; we have a brand-new phone system and we can respond to our customer’s email enquiries much more quickly. It also frees up some time for us to spend with the animals as we are no longer waiting around for a connection."

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.

RCP

Communities applying for Wi-Fi Scheme

Community WiFi

So far 14 communities in Essex have expressed their interest in the Superfast Essex Community Wi-Fi Scheme and have submitted applications for funding from Essex County Council’s Community Initiatives Fund (CIF).

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.

With broadband 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 at home. 

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.

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

Super Sam to return to Essex

Super Sam mascot

Our broadband superhero will be returning this year to spread the news and raise awareness of the work Superfast Essex is doing to make Essex one of the best connected counties in the UK.

Keep an eye out for Super Sam visiting a town near you!

Super Sam will also be accompanying the Superfast Essex team at the Tendring Hundred Show and the Essex Food and Drink Festival this summer. For more details please see our events page. 


Welcome to our new Broadband Champions

Superfast Essex has seen a significant increase in registrations for Broadband Champions. Our list has been updated on the Broadband Champion page on our website and we are in the process of updating our interactive rollout map to include our new additions. We'll be in touch to formally welcome our new Champions directly very soon.

Can’t see a Broadband Champion for your area? If your area is not currently listed and you would like to be a Broadband Champion please let us know by completing this short online registration form.


Emails sent to parishes and residents

We recently contacted some parish councils and residents by email either affected by our Monitoring Plan which is being implemented this year or to clarify the status of broadband availability at specific addresses.

If any parish councils or residents impacted by this communication have any questions or information to share with us, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Business events

Superfast Essex is lined up to support several business events in the coming months, including Business East 2017, The Braintree District Business Exhibition 2017 and the Connected Britain 2017 Conference. View all events and details on how to attend them here.


Third time Digital Awards sponsor

Superfast Essex is sponsoring the Essex Digital Awards for the 3rd year running. The awards aim to reward innovation and progressive thinking by businesses, individuals, events, charities or educational establishments which use digital media as a means to achieve greater things for their business. Visit the EDA website to find out more about the Awards or to be inspired by previous winners about how you can use digital to help your business. If you want to enter, don't delay. Entries close 5pm TOMORROW! (Friday 17th February).


If you've got a question about Superfast Essex, you can contact the team using the online form.

Contact form.