Thousands more homes and businesses are in line to join the superfast network under a new phase of work announced by the Superfast Essex broadband programme this week.
Essex County Council, which is co-ordinating the broadband programme, signed a contract with network operator Openreach to rollout fibre to more than 3,100 additional homes and businesses in Basildon Borough and Braintree District under Phase 4a of the Superfast Essex programme. This contract is one of two new streams of work which will make up the 4a rollout. The second stream will be announced later this month.
A total £3.4million is being invested in the latest Openreach deployment phase, which is set to be delivered between October 2019 and September 2020.
These new plans are being made possible due to substantial funding contributions from Basildon Borough Council and Braintree District Council, which have been match-funded by a grant from the UK Government, together with existing project savings and a significant contribution from Openreach.
Representatives from the key funding partners for this work came together at Chelmsford City Racecourse to mark the signing of the new contract on the 18th July.
Essex County Councillor Lesley Wagland, Deputy Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Chairman of the Superfast Essex Steering Board, said: “It is great to see how much the Superfast Essex programme has already achieved and to have the support of these two districts and the commitment from Openreach to deliver even more. We are concentrating on filling as many of the remaining gaps in coverage across Essex as possible.”
Cllr Tom Cunningham, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Braintree District Council, said: “Braintree District is a great place to do business and we have lots of fantastic businesses in the district already but we want to continue to improve what the area has to offer businesses and their workforce. We’re well connected in terms of location and connectivity but we know how important it is to invest further. That’s why we’ve invested an additional £356,000 to reach 99% of the district with a focus on rural areas, making the Braintree District one of the most future-proofed and digitally connected areas in Essex for residents and businesses with download speeds of more than 30Mbps”.
Cllr Anthony Hedley, Vice-Chairman of the Economic Growth and Development Committee at Basildon Council, said: “Access to high quality broadband has fast become one of ‘must haves’ for our businesses and residents. For some, it is seen as the fourth utility. Our investment of £250,000 will further grow the digital sector and attract high and advanced technology companies to locate in Basildon which would benefit our residents with an increase of higher paid employment opportunities in these sectors.”
Kim Mears, Openreach Managing Director for Strategic Infrastructure Development, said: “Previous build phases saw hundreds of kilometres of fibre being laid across rural parts of the county. It’s proven to be really popular as well, so much so that Openreach was able to invest almost 2 million pounds worth of additional funding to extend the reach of the fibre network even further, into some of the most hard-to-reach communities.”
The Phase 4a rollout by Openreach includes more than 1,500 homes and businesses in Basildon Borough and more than 1,600 homes and businesses in Braintree District. The latest plans are now available to view with all other Superfast Essex rollout plans at address-level on the Superfast Essex interactive rollout map at: www.superfastessex.org/maps. All properties due for an upgrade under the existing programme or as part of this additional coverage will have a green dot.
Over the last four years, Superfast Essex, part of the national Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, has enabled more than 105,000 homes and businesses to access superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps, working with two network operators, Openreach and Gigaclear.
Work is already ongoing to extend this coverage to more than 149,400 properties across Essex by March 2020 as part of Superfast Essex Phases 2 and 3.
To find out if your property is able to access superfast speeds or due to be upgraded as part of the Superfast Essex programme, visit the Superfast Essex interactive map. If fibre broadband is available, remember nobody is automatically connected, you have to contact a service provider and ask to upgrade.
Anyone not currently due for an upgrade can register their demand for faster broadband by completing the Make the Connection Survey: www.superfastessex.org/registerdemand
Group shot – Superfast Essex mascot Super Sam joins representatives from Essex County Council, Openreach, Basildon Borough Council and Braintree District Council to mark new Phase 4a contract at Chelmsford City Racecourse. Group includes Essex County Councillor Lesley Wagland, Basildon Borough Councillor Anthony Hedley, and Braintree District Councillors Tom Cunningham, Kevin Bowers and Lynette Bowers-Flint.
Basildon Borough Council photo – Left to right: Openreach Director for NGA South of England, David Jordan; Basildon Borough Councillor Anthony Hedley; Openreach Programme Manager, Rowena D’Rosario; Openreach Senior Project Delivery Manager, Tony Smith; Basildon Service Director, Mandie Skeat; Super Sam; Essex County Councillor Lesley Wagland; Superfast Essex Senior Programme Manager (ECC), Connie Kerbst; Basildon Borough Council Economic Development Officer, Kevin Wright; and Openreach Project Delivery Manager, Emma Wood.
Braintree District Council photo – Left to right: Openreach Project Delivery Manager, Emma Wood; Braintree District Council Corporate Director for Economic Development, Jon Hayden; Openreach Director for NGA South of England, David Jordan; Openreach Senior Project Delivery Manager, Tony Smith; Openreach Programme Manager, Rowena D’Rosario; Super Sam; Essex County Councillor Lesley Wagland; Braintree District Councillor Kevin Bowers; Braintree District Councillor Tom Cunningham; uperfast Essex Senior Programme Manager (ECC), Connie Kerbst; and Braintree District Councillor Lynette Bowers-Flint.