Superfast Essex Programme Update - November 2017

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New website is mobile-friendly and goes LIVE today!

Superfast Essex website home page

Superfast Essex is launching a new website today; a project we have been working on for some time. The URL remains the same but the content and layout has been refreshed with the aim of creating a functional website that is easy to navigate and understand. It is now mobile and tablet responsive, meaning the information can be read clearly no matter what device you use to view

The new website features the same interactive rollout map as before (although we are still working on making this even more mobile-friendly) which will continue to be updated on a monthly basis. The fresh layout aims to provide people new to the Superfast Essex programme with a general overview of the programme’s work with operators Openreach and Gigaclear to provide access to superfast broadband across Essex. The FAQs section has been re-written to bring the current popular questions and subsequent answers up to date.

If you have any constructive website feedback that you’d like to share with the team, you’re welcome to write to us. We politely request that you please bear us throughout any teething issues in the early days of our website launch.

Openreach delivery update and award winners

Openreach cabinet

Superfast Essex’s work across the county with operator Openreach is progressing well. The Phase 2a and Phase 3 plans are on track for completion by December 2019, with an early six month view to be added to the interactive rollout map when known.

Superfast Essex is very close to reaching the milestone figure of enabling 100,000 homes and businesses across Essex with access to fibre broadband. Due to the great success of the Superfast Essex programme, Openreach has been selected as the winner of the ‘Best use of digital technology’ category in the Essex County Council Supplier Recognition Awards. We extend our congratulations to the Openreach team and are very proud of our excellent working relationship with them to deliver the Superfast Essex programme.

Don't forget to follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) where we announce every Friday the cabinets fibre-enabled that week. Remember, you're not automatically connected and must contact a provider to buy a fibre package.

Gigaclear work continues as Phase 3 plans develop


The Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project (RCP) in Epping Forest District has made great progress and most of it is now complete, but unfortunately due to factors beyond Gigaclear’s control, including some unresolved negotiations to access private land, some parts of the network build have been delayed. All residents and businesses due to be covered by the RCP rollout will be live on the new ultrafast Gigaclear network by the 31st March 2018 at the very latest, although some may become live sooner. The Superfast Essex website and interactive map and Gigaclear website and postcode checker are in the process of being updated. We apologise for this added delay to the project, and the frustration this must cause.

Gigaclear's Phase 3 rollout plans for Uttlesford and Central North (including parts of Braintree, Colchester and Chelmsford) are now in the detailed planning stage. All properties to be upgraded are shown on the interactive map as due for completion by December 2019. An early six month view will be added once known. Work is expected to start in March 2018. Further information and events will be planned in the New Year and staggered throughout the rollout ahead of work starting in different communities.

Looking ahead to the final phase of work - Phase 4

Thank you to all who responded to the Superfast Essex Public Consultation held in August. Your feedback, together with information from the network operators, has helped to finalise which areas are eligible for investment in our next and last phase of the programme – Phase 4. Work is now being planned in two tranches – 4a and 4b – and is aiming to extend superfast broadband coverage to nearly all Essex homes and businesses by 2021.

Procurement for Phase 4a is currently underway, and will be focused in Basildon Borough, Braintree District and Epping Forest District. Procurement for Phase 4b will follow next year and seek to address the rest of Essex not currently able to access superfast broadband. Please note: No rollout plans will be confirmed until the network operators delivering the work have been selected through the procurement process, contracts have been signed and formal planning has been completed.

For more information, to keep updated on the future plans as they become available, and to view the Public Consultation Report, visit:

Community Wi-Fi Scheme open to all suppliers

Further to our last update in August 2017, we can confirm the Community Wi-Fi Scheme is now open to all broadband suppliers and additional funding has been confirmed for the scheme to run through to September 2018. Community hubs can apply to the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) for a contribution towards set up costs of up to £400. To date, we have received 19 successful applications and five hubs are now live in Alphamstone, Mayland, Bradwell (Braintree), Peldon and White Colne. All other successful applications still stand, and those hubs can now choose any supplier to get their superfast service activated at their hub. Find out more about this scheme and apply.

Better Broadband Scheme extended by a year

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has announced that the Better Broadband Scheme is being extended through to December 2018. Originally planned to end in December this year, the scheme allows premises receiving speeds of less than 2Mbps to access a basic broadband service as an interim solution while waiting for a superfast upgrade. Successful applicants are issues a code in order to gain support towards the cost on installing a basic satellite or wireless broadband service from one of the chosen suppliers under the scheme. A grant of up to £400 is available per person. To find out more about this scheme, check if you are eligible or apply for a code, click here.