Superfast Essex Programme Update - October 2020

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Super Sam Pointing

Superfast vs ultrafast: what’s the difference?

Over the last few years, Superfast Essex has rolled out ‘superfast’ fibre broadband, giving homes and businesses across Essex access to download speeds of at least 30Mbps. Now access to full-fibre ‘ultrafast’ broadband is on the rise. But how do the two compare?

Superfast broadband is a part fibre, part copper connection based on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology. It works by running fibre optic cables from the telephone exchange to 'street cabinets' – those green boxes you may have seen on your street. From there, existing copper wires connect broadband to your home.

Ultrafast broadband is a full-fibre connection based on fibre-to-the-premises or home (FTTP) technology. Free from all copper, FTTP uses fibre optic cables for the entire journey from the telephone exchange to your home.

Difference between ADSL, FTTC and FTTP

The government wants 95% of UK homes and businesses to have access to full fibre by 2025. Across Essex commercial network providers are already upgrading existing superfast broadband to full fibre, so you may see more broadband work happening in your area, even if you can already get superfast speeds.

Superfast Essex is installing full fibre for the majority of our remaining rollout. We want to reach areas where people are still experiencing very poor speeds, and where we can, we’ll be offering the very latest FTTP technology to achieve this. Check the work happening in your area by visiting our interactive maps.


Ultrafast available to more on Gigaclear's network

man working on ultrafast broadband

More addresses across the county can now access broadband speeds up to 900Mbps, thanks to Gigaclear.

Over 2,300 homes and businesses have now been connected in the Braintree and Uttlesford districts under our Phase 3 work, with further addresses going live as the rollout continues. All communities that are live and due to be upgraded by Gigaclear are listed on our website, together with estimated timescales. Please note that these dates are indicative and remain subject to change.

Since the last Programme Update, work has also progressed in Epping Forest District as part of the Phase 4 build. Chipping Ongar South and Chipping Ongar North cabinets have gone live and work is underway in Epping Upland, Dobbs Weir and Hastingwood.

All work remains on track to be completed by December 2021, so keep checking the Superfast Essex interactive map for the latest information. You can also enter your address via the Gigaclear Postcode Checker to register for direct updates.

Residents of Duddenhoe End will be happy to hear that Gigaclear's commercial work in the community is now live! Communications are being sent out to those in the cabinet area to let them know when they can order a service.


Openreach fibre broadband progresses countywide

Openreach engineer working

The rollout continues on our Phase 3 and 4a contracts, with more homes and businesses set to receive superfast and ultrafast speeds by the end of the year.

Once completed, these contracts will have enabled 12,300 addresses to access fibre broadband. A further 3,700 rural businesses and homes will be upgraded as part of our Phase 4b build, which is funded by DEFRA’s Rural Development Programme for England and commercial investment from Openreach. Work under the Phase 4b contract is due to complete in March 2021.

Openreach has notified us that due to engineering difficulties, the work to some addresses will be completed later than expected. We suggest checking the interactive map, which is being updated over the next week with estimated completion dates in the affected areas.

Don’t forget, you’re not automatically connected to fibre broadband when a service goes live – you must contact your existing or an alternative provider. Follow our simple steps and see if you can switch today!


What to do if you can't access superfast speeds

You may not currently have access to superfast broadband. If this is the case and you're not in the programme's plans, there are a few options you can explore.

Register your demand! You can fill in the Superfast Essex Make the Connection survey which will help us identify high demand areas should any further funding become available. You can also register your demand with commercial broadband operators as they may consider extending their network in your area.

If you want to go faster, you can apply for a Community Fibre Partnership, a scheme run by Openreach, which aims to build faster broadband in communities. Openreach will contribute towards some of the cost of the installation.

If you’re in a rural location, you can apply for the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme. This is available to any rural business or home in groups of two or more and with speeds less than 100Mbps. It offers support to install full fibre broadband capable of speeds up to 1000Mbps!

If you're not eligible for any of the schemes above, you can apply for the Universal Service Obligation. You may be eligible for connection if your address can only access speeds of less than 10Mbps.


We've made changes to our interactive map

Do you find yourself getting confused when you hear that work to your address is either 'not part of the Superfast Essex programme' or 'being carried out commercially'?

We've listened to feedback and decided to simplify our map by adding an extra colour – say hello to the new yellow dot!

If you see a yellow dot, this means that a commercial operator has a superfast broadband service available or planned at your address. The pink dot will now reflect all work that was completed as part of the Superfast Essex programme only.

If anyone has any feedback on the changes we've made to the map, you can contact us using the online form.

map statuses