Superfast Essex Programme Update - July 2020

Trouble viewing? View this email in your browser.

Super Sam pointing

Gigaclear network reaches thousands across Essex

Gigaclear engineer working at broadband cabinet

Full fibre broadband operator, Gigaclear, has enabled thousands of homes and businesses in Essex to access ultrafast broadband services on its network.

More than 2,200 addresses in Uttlesford and Braintree districts can now access download speeds of up to 900Mbps as a result of the work completed under Phase 3 of the Superfast Essex programme. A further 2,500 properties have also benefited from Gigaclear’s commercial work in the same areas.

The Gigaclear network is now available in Birchanger, Stansted Mountfitchet, Gaunts End, Widdington, Debden Green, Little Bardfield, Howlett End, Cornish Hall End, Great Saling, Ridgewell, Panfield, Great Notley, Row Green and Bocking West.

Work is underway in Hatfield Heath, Ashdon, Wendens Ambo, Stebbing, Little Hallingbury, Great Henny and Gosfield. Work has also started in Chipping Ongar South under the Phase 4 build in Epping Forest District.

Gigaclear has notified us that the build to some properties is expected to be completed later than the rest of the cabinet area; in most cases, delays are due to negotiating access agreements for private land, longer waits for permission to close Essex roads and engineering difficulties. Any affected addresses will be clearly identified on our interactive map, so keep checking for the latest information. You can also register directly with Gigaclear for updates on the build progress in your community.

The communities due to be upgraded by Gigaclear in the Superfast Essex rollout are listed on our website, together with estimated timescales of when Gigaclear expects work to happen in each community. Please note these dates are indicative and remain subject to change. All Gigaclear work under the Superfast Essex programme remains on track for completion by December 2021.

Remember, once the network is available at your address, nobody is automatically connected. You need to contact a broadband provider on the Gigaclear network to access a full fibre broadband service.


Openreach work continues to progress countywide

Openreach engineer working in street

Engineers are continuing to press ahead with upgrading the Openreach fibre broadband network across Essex.

Over 2,000 more homes and businesses have been enabled to access superfast speeds under Phase 3 and 4 since our last update in March. The total number of properties upgraded so far in these phases is now over 9,000, with a further 7,000 addresses in plans.

Due to a specific engineering problem, Openreach has now forecast that their delivery of work under Phase 3 and 4a will take around eight weeks longer than planned to complete. Please note that this delay will not affect all addresses and most of the programme will be completed by September 2020, with properties continuing to go live as the build progresses.

You can view the programme delivery phases and areas to be upgraded on the About page and check the latest status for your address on our interactive map. Remember, once the network is available at your address, nobody is automatically connected. You need to contact a broadband provider on the Openreach network to access a superfast broadband service.

You may also be interested to know, across the East of England the Openreach network has coped with a 23% increase in internet traffic since lockdown restrictions were enforced meaning many more people were working and studying from home and socialising online than would under normal circumstances. The majority of the traffic increase has been experienced during the day. In one week, 16 more petabytes (16,000 terabytes or 16,000,000 gigabytes) of data were consumed across the region compared to a typical week pre-lockdown.


Rural scheme continues to offer full fibre funding

Government is continuing to offer free funding towards full fibre broadband in rural areas.

The Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme (RGVS) was set up in May 2019 to help rural residents and businesses access a connection capable of gigabit speeds (1000Mbps or 1Gbps). It was introduced alongside the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) which has since closed.

The rural scheme offers businesses in rural areas up to £3,500 each and residents in rural areas up to £1,500 each in groups of two or more.

Across Essex, 221 residents and businesses have already transformed their broadband speed with a full fibre connection as a result of the Government voucher schemes and a further 379 applications remain in progress.

For more information and to apply, visit: www.superfastessex.org/ruralvoucher. Use the links from this page to check your eligibility for the scheme with Building Digital UK (BDUK), the team within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport running the scheme.

Read how a full fibre connection enabled under the Government voucher schemes has helped to future-proof multiple Essex-based businesses at: www.superfastessex.org/casestudies.


Use our website to self-serve and access updates

Superfast Essex website

You may have noticed the Superfast Essex website’s appearance has changed slightly. We’ve updated the images to make it look smarter and are continuously working to update and improve the layout and content to remain focused on the information you want to know the most.

The interactive rollout map continues to be the most visited page of our website, and we encourage you to continue to check here for the latest updates on the network build progress and superfast broadband availability at your address. If you’re unable to access the map, the same information is also available from the address checker.

You can also find information on the steps you need to take to access a superfast broadband service in our step-by-step guide on our Get connected page. Remember, nobody is automatically connected once the network is upgraded, so we want to make sure you know what you need to do.

There is also lots of information about the phases of the broadband rollout, broadband funding schemes, latest news, and anything else you might want to know about Superfast Essex under the About section. If you still can’t find the answer you need, try our FAQs.

If there’s any additional content you would like to see on our website or anything that you think needs further improvement, we welcome your feedback so please get in touch to let us know.


Do you consider yourself a gadget geek?

Smart speaker image

Are you a digital whizz at home or at work, or the ‘go to’ tech expert to your friends and family? Are you eager to try out new gadgets – and already embracing smart robots to help you with tasks around the house or garden or at work?

If this is you, or you have a tech-savvy friend or family member, Superfast Essex would like to hear from you. Superfast Essex is searching for ‘Essex’s techiest individuals’. With smart technology now available to make every job easier, we want to hear how people are turning to a smarter way of life. What’s the best thing about smart tech? Would you encourage others to do the same? Would you change anything about it?

Whether it be listening to music via wireless speakers in different rooms, controlling heating and lighting or even boiling the kettle for your next cuppa through an app, using a video doorbell to communicate with someone making a delivery when you’re not home, or receiving text alerts to monitor a vulnerable loved one’s movements around the home if they live alone to ensure they are safe, we want to hear from you.

Superfast Essex would welcome the opportunity for a digital chat, or video call to hear how tech has changed your life at home or work. Please get in touch.