Superfast Essex Programme Update - August 2017


Our Public Consultation is still OPEN

Public Consultation 2017

Superfast Essex is holding a public consultation to reassess the availability of superfast broadband across Essex until midnight 31 August.

We want to make sure we know where the gaps in coverage will remain after our current Phase 2 and 3 rollout plans are complete to help inform any future potential investment in broadband.

We've created an interactive State Aid map of broadband availability based on information from broadband network operators and other feedback. Check the status for your address and let us know if you agree or disagree with the information we hold.

Essex County Council's ambition is to make superfast broadband available to nearly all homes and businesses by 2021.

For more details and to respond to the consultation visit Follow our short guide to responding to the consultation here.

Phase 3 plans now unveiled on our map

Superfast Essex, Super Sam and Openreach at the BT Tower following the signing of the new Phase 3 contract
Superfast Essex, Essex County Council, Super Sam, BT Openreach and BDUK at the BT Tower after the Phase 3 contract was awarded.

Superfast Essex has revealed the areas to be reached with its Phase 3 rollout due to start later this year.

Under new contracts signed with both our existing broadband delivery partners, BT Openreach and Gigaclear, an additional 24,000 homes and businesses in Essex will be upgraded to access superfast speeds (30Mbps and above).

Our interactive map has been updated to show the areas due for upgrade and the completion date for the overall plan (December 2019). More detailed timescales will be added once known.

The work includes:

  • Uttlesford District (Gigaclear) - around 4,600 properties
  • Central North (Gigaclear) - around 3,700 properties across parts of Braintree District, Colchester Borough and Chelmsford District.
  • South East (BT Openreach) - around 6,700 properties in parts of Basildon and Castle Point Districts, and the rural coastline of Maldon and Rochford Districts.

In addition a further 9,000 properties have been added to the existing Phase 2a rollout plan (across Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Colchester, Chelmsford and Maldon Districts).

Read the full story and watch our Phase 3 announcement video on our website.

Superfast Essex, Super Sam, Gigaclear and BDUK marking the signing of the Phase 3 contracts
Superfast Essex, Essex County Council, Super Sam, Gigaclear and BDUK mark the signing of the Phase 3 contract with Gigaclear.

Over 90,000 homes and businesses enabled to access fibre broadband

Superfast Essex’s progress with the current rollout in partnership with network delivery operators BT Openreach and Gigaclear is continuing to advance well. More than 90,000 homes and businesses have been fibre-enabled by the programme so far and provided with access to superfast speeds of 30Mbps and above. This includes residents and businesses that have been connected to Gigaclear’s ultrafast broadband network as part of the Rural Challenge Project in the Epping Forest district. 

Remember, no address is automatically connected to fibre once it becomes available; you have to contact a broadband provider and ask to switch to a fibre service.

Web_Banner 90,000

Clarification on our delivery timescales

As mentioned in the last programme update, the timescales shown on the interactive map have been reviewed and you may have noticed some changes already. We’re keen to provide transparency with the information made available to the programme and have previously shared more detailed rollout plans, however it’s most important that we ensure accuracy in the information we share.

As the programme’s delivery becomes more rural, the complexity of the technical solution needed to make superfast speeds available increases. Additional surveys, more in-depth planning and wayleave activities are required prior to work being able to start. For this reason, the operational plan used by the local Openreach team is becoming much more fluid and therefore less reliable as a source of accurate information for us to publish on the website.

Openreach can provide a six month firm view on when the work will commence with a planned completion date, which will be reflected on the map as soon as the information is available. All other dates will be reverted to the longer contracted date for when we know this phase of the programme will be completed which is December 2019, in the next map update. We want to reassure you that the delivery is still underway and remains firmly on track; it is just the estimated timescale information provided on the map that is being adjusted to ensure accuracy.

Super Sam at Essex Libraries

Super Sam at Maldon Library
Super Sam at Maldon Library

Our broadband superhero mascot has been out and about this month raising awareness of Superfast Essex at Essex Libraries during the Essex Summer Reading Challenge.

Super Sam attended Maldon Library and Chelmsford Library helping children discover their creative side with colouring sheets. You can see him and get your hands on some more colouring sheets at Harwich Library on Tuesday and Basildon Library on Thursday next week. Full details on the Super Sam page on our website.

Super Sam at Chelmsford Library
Super Sam at Chelmsford Library

Community Wi-Fi Scheme has been extended

Good news the Community Wi-Fi Scheme will be continuing beyond September 2017.

The scheme was first launched last year to enable local communities to access a public Wi-Fi service at their local community centre or village hall with the support of a grant towards the set-up cost from the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF). Communities can choose between two suppliers, APC Solutions or County Broadband

The current scheme was due to end next month but we can now confirm the Community Initiatives Fund has kindly agreed to support the scheme for another year.

Full details will be shared in due course once finalised, and we will officially re-launch the scheme later this year.

In the meantime, the application process remains open so communities can apply at any time!

Thank you to our Broadband Champions

We’ve recently had a flurry of Broadband Champion registrations and we now have over 150 people signed up to help us spread news of the programme across Essex.

Broadband Champions volunteer on behalf of their local community to be a point of contact regarding broadband matters. They are invited to quarterly events to hear programme updates from the Superfast Essex team.

If you’d like to register as a Broadband Champion for your community, you can find the form here

Business events

Superfast Essex is sponsoring the FSB’s Small Business Expo taking place at Wivenhoe House in Colchester on the 12th October.

The Federation of Small Businesses has designed this expo to give businesses across Essex a platform for promotion. There will be seminar programmes taking place throughout the day and it’s free to attend.

Book your place here.

Keep track of all the events Superfast Essex attends on the website here.