Superfast Essex Programme Update - February 2018

Trouble viewing? View this email in your browser.

100,000 homes and businesses now fibre-enabled!

100,000 milestone superfast essex

Superfast Essex has recently reached a milestone figure in the programme’s delivery, enabling 100,000 homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband. This has provided a further 100,000 Essex residents with access to superfast speeds of 30Mbps and above.

This is the programme’s latest achievement in partnership with network operators Openreach and Gigaclear.

You may have also heard the government announced the nationwide superfast broadband rollout, led by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), within the Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, successfully achieved its target of providing at least 95% of the UK with access to superfast broadband by the end of 2017 and Superfast Essex’s efforts have helped contribute to this national target.

Superfast Essex has installed more than 385km of fibre cabling across the county so far, which is three and a half times the length of the English Channel or also roughly the same as the distance from Earth to the International Space Station!

The next steps to extend broadband coverage

While Superfast Essex is thrilled to have reached such a milestone target, we recognise there is more work to do and are striving to close the remaining gaps in superfast broadband coverage across Essex by planning a further phase of work.

The programme is already working to extend superfast broadband across Essex to more than 144,000 homes and businesses between now and December 2019 under its Phase 2a and Phase 3 rollouts. The next phase of work, Phase 4, will aim to extend this even further with an ambition to make superfast broadband available to nearly all homes and businesses in the county by 2021.

Phase 4 will be deployed in two stages and the procurement for the first stage (Phase 4a) is underway. We hope to announce the properties to be included in Phase 4a (in Basildon Borough, Braintree District and Epping Forest District) in early summer 2018 with the Phase 4b plans for elsewhere in the county to follow later in the year. 

Read more about the programme's next steps to improve broadband coverage.

Openreach rollout remains ahead of schedule

Openreach cabinet and engineer

Engineers are continuing to make good progress with the Openreach rollout and work remains three months ahead of schedule.

The Phase 2a rollout contract, being delivered on behalf of BT Group, is due to provide 60,000 more homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband by December 2019. Work started last summer and is already now halfway complete.

Alongside this, Openreach is due to start work on Phase 3 by April to extend coverage to a further 6,700 homes and businesses across Basildon, Castle Point, Maldon and Rochford districts, also by December 2019, and a further 5,400 homes and businesses in Tendring District by March 2020.

Keep track of the rollout and check the broadband status for your address using our property-level interactive mapThe map displays the date when all work is due to complete under each contract, and will be updated to provide an earlier indicative delivery date once known.

Gigaclear delivery timescales now available online

Ultrafast broadband across Essex is now in sight as one Gigaclear project moves closer to completion and dates for the next phase of work are published.

The Rural Challenge Project in Epping Forest District is reaching the final stages of delivery with the remaining properties planned for upgrade expected to be live on the network by end of March 2018.

The updated timescale can be viewed on Gigaclear’s website along with the indicative timescales for work planned as part of Phase 3 in Uttlesford District and parts of Braintree District and Colchester Borough.

The estimated delivery completion dates for Phase 3 are in the process of being updated on the Superfast Essex interactive map. In the meantime you can track the progress of the entire Gigaclear rollout using Gigaclear’s postcode checker. Please note, the published delivery dates are indicative for each area, and remain subject to change. All work in Phase 3 is due to complete by December 2019.

If fibre is available - don't forget to switch!

Cabinet sticker

As work continues across Essex to enable as close to 100% of the county with superfast speeds as possible, more properties are being given the opportunity to benefit from faster connectivity. Many people don't realise, once your address has been upgraded to access superfast broadband, nobody is automatically connected to a faster service. You will need to switch to or buy a fibre service from a provider of your choice in order to benefit.

The more people that take up a fibre service, the more money Superfast Essex receives back from the network operators to reinvest in extending superfast coverage further across Essex. Currently 49% of all superfast-enabled properties from Phase 1 have taken up a service since work began in 2014, which has directly contributed to reinvestment into the programme. A further 30% of properties enabled to access superfast broadband so far in Phase 2a, and 27% from Phase 2b, have also taken up a service.

If fibre is available to you, contact a provider and switch. Check out the list of providers on our website.

Would you like to be a Superfast Essex case study?

Where superfast broadband is now available, we are interested in hearing feedback on how faster broadband has made a difference to your life at home or work. If you live or work at an address that has been enabled with superfast broadband, and have found the increased speeds beneficial, we would like to hear from you and to share your story as a case study on our website. If you have a story to tell, please contact us using our online form to be involved.