Superfast Essex Programme Update - February 2019

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Ultrafast broadband arriving in Uttlesford in March

Gigaclear fibre cable

Gigaclear's full fibre delivery is continuing in Uttlesford and Braintree districts with the first homes and businesses in Uttlesford due to have access to the ultrafast network in a matter of weeks.

The Gigaclear network is due to start being activitated in Birchanger towards the end of February/early March 2019 as part of the Phase 3 rollout. This will be the first Gigaclear cabinet to go live in the district with all addresses in this cabinet area expected to be live by June 2019.

The first homes and businesses to benefit in Braintree District from Gigaclear's Phase 3 rollout, will be in Great Saling, Cornish Hall End and Ridgwell. Services here are expected to start becoming available in June 2019.

View the full list of areas due to be full fibre-enabled by Gigaclear on our cabinet list page. The plans for the Phase 4a rollout in Epping Forest District are in the final stages of being agreed and will be published as soon as they are confirmed. All work under Phase 3 and 4a is due to complete by July 2020.

Please note, the estimated completion date for ultrafast broadband to be available in each community cabinet area indicates when the majority of homes and businesses will have access to the network in the community. A handful of addresses in each area, which are subject to wayleave negotiations or other engineering issues which could take longer to resolve, may become live on the network later.

Follow the progress of the Gigaclear rollout via the Superfast Essex interactive map and Gigaclear postcode checker where you can also sign up to receive updates.

Thousands more achieve superfast with Openreach


Superfast Essex’s work with network operator Openreach is continuing to progress well across the existing Phase 2a, 3 and 4a contracts. Under these contracts, around 52,000 properties have been enabled with access to superfast broadband so far. 

More information about where in Essex is being targeted by each phase of the Openreach rollout can be found on the ‘About’ website page. Openreach’s work in Phases 2a and 3 is currently underway and the pop-up box on the website rollout map shows the date the work is contracted to be completed by.

The Phase 4a plans will extend superfast broadband coverage across Basildon Borough and Braintree District and the properties due to be picked up in these plans can also be seen on the website map, with work due to start later this year. Where we have the information available, we’ll also provide an earlier view of when the work is estimated to be live by and when a superfast service is likely to be available to order.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this is a complex engineering project so sometimes estimated dates will need to fluctuate to allow for unforeseen changes, not always within the operator’s control. Superfast Essex aims to report the most accurate dates we have available on the map, and seeks to update the map on a monthly basis - so it’s worth checking back regularly!

Once work has been completed and superfast broadband services are now available to buy, the green dot on the map showing planned work will change to a pink dot showing superfast speeds are available. Nobody is automatically connected once work is complete, instead you must contact an internet service provider and ask to switch to a superfast broadband package.

Phase 4b contracts due to be signed this Spring

Superfast Essex is close to completing the procurement for the latest phase of work, Phase 4b, which will build on the existing plans and extend superfast broadband coverage even further. We aim to announce the signing of new contracts in Spring 2019 and the properties to be included in the Phase 4b plans will be added to the map following this.

The current rollout has so far reached almost 120,000 properties and is expected to reach 154,600 by September 2020 under existing plans. Phase 4b will increase the superfast footprint beyond this and will be focused on upgrading business premises across Essex to access fibre broadband.

We recognise that we're unable to reach everyone with the current plans and are continuing to explore options for securing additional funding to extend the programme's work even further. At this time, there are no plans for more work beyond Phase 4b and we therefore encourage people to look into what other options are available to them, making use of schemes and grants where available. The government has some guidance options on its website which may be of interest regarding available community-led schemes. You can read more about the programme's next steps at:

Get connected with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Social media_2

We have Facebook and Twitter pages that are regularly updated with our programme news! If you’re not already, follow us on social media to get weekly updates on where superfast broadband services are now live and available to order. We’ll also promote which events we’re going to be attending next if you’d like to come along and speak with us face to face, and will signpost to other schemes and information you might find useful. Our social media followers are often the first to know the latest programme information so if you’re not yet one of them, we recommend you heading over to Facebook or Twitter and subscribing to get our updates!

More access full fibre with Gigabit Voucher Scheme

Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme logo

Since the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) launched almost a year ago, 22 businesses and residents across Essex (including Southend and Thurrock) have been connected to full fibre broadband and 168 more applications are in progress. We want to make sure Essex businesses make the most of this scheme before the money runs out – we’ll be at events across the county talking about the scheme and answering any questions you might have.

The GBVS, run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), is open nationally to businesses and residents (with businesses) on a first come first served basis. The scheme is aiming to increase access to full fibre broadband networks across the UK capable of gigabit speeds (1000Mps or 1Gbps), regardless of whether or not superfast broadband is already available.

Gigabit vouchers can be used by small and medium-sized businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit capable connection. Businesses can access up to £2,500 each and residents can access £500 each, if part of a business-led community group.

For full details and eligibility, please visit:

Community Wi-Fi Scheme closed this month

Community WiFi Scheme

The application deadline for this scheme has now passed. The Community Wi-Fi Scheme officially closed on 22 February 2019. Existing, successful applicants have until March 2020 to claim their funds.

The Community Wi-Fi Scheme was set up to enable local communities to provide a superfast public Wi-Fi service via their community hubs with support from the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF).

Over the lifetime of the scheme the CIF has awarded grants of up to £400 to 24 successful communities. At least five of those we know now have a live public Wi-Fi service. Superfast Essex is keen to hear from any communities which have installed Wi-Fi in their local village hall, community centre or other community building - either as a result of the Community Wi-Fi Scheme or otherwise. We're interested to know what you use it for most and how it is helping make a difference to your community. If you have a story to tell, please get in touch with us.