Superfast Essex is striving to close the remaining gaps in superfast broadband coverage across Essex. Read here about our plans for the future.
The Superfast Essex programme is working to extend superfast broadband across Essex to more than 149,400 homes and businesses by March 2020 under its Phase 2 and Phase 3 rollouts.
We recognise that all this work will still leave some areas without access to superfast broadband speeds and Essex County Council wants to ensure that these properties are also included in future plans where possible. We are now planning our last phase of work - Phase 4, announced in September 2017.
Our ambition is to make superfast broadband available to nearly all homes and businesses by 2021.
Phase 4 will be funded by project savings and subsidy refunds from BT relating to Phases 1 and 2, contributions by local Essex councils and a new grant from the government's Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK), which is already earmarked for Essex. Over the next few months, Superfast Essex is also planning to apply for further goverment grants worth up to £18million. If the grants can be secured, the overall value of the Phase 4 public investment will be up to £29million.
Superfast Essex is working with commercial operators to encourage more private investment in broadband and in a number of areas within the county this is now happening. However, we are aware that sometimes the information we receive from commercial operators is inaccurate.
In order to identify exactly which properties have no superfast connection available or planned to be installed, and should be eligible for investment, the Superfast Essex programme has an interactive State Aid map of broadband coverage, which shows the status of superfast broadband availability for each property in Essex as we currently know it.
The information displayed on this map was obtained from network operators during an Open Market Review (OMR) held in 2016 together with public and network operator feedback received since then. The latest feedback was received during the month-long public consultation held through August 2017 and this was used to update the interactive State Aid map in October 2017.
The map identifies properties classed within the Next Generation Access (NGA) categories as required by EU State Aid legislation to indicate whether superfast broadband is or is not available: NGA Black (More than one superfast provider), NGA Grey (One superfast provider), NGA Under Review (Yellow - Superfast provision under review), or NGA White (No superfast providers). Please note that the Superfast Essex programme is focused on the areas where there is ‘market failure’, i.e. there is no superfast coverage available and no plans exist to deploy this within the next three years. Any properties not classed as NGA White are not eligible for future investment under the Superfast Essex programme. Please note that all properties planned for work under the Superfast Essex programme are shown as NGA Under Review (Yellow). They will be updated to show as NGA Grey once deployment is completed. It is possible that due to some engineering reasons some properties planned under the current deployment may not actually achieve superfast speeds when the plans are fully implemented. In such cases these properties would then revert to NGA White classification and become eligible for future investment.
Members of the public are still welcome to tell Superfast Essex if they believe the connectivity status for their property is incorrect by using the online contact us form. We will continue to review future feedback and seek to adjust our State Aid map at a later date where appropriate.
The State Aid map is used, together with the demand registered via our Make the Connection Survey, to underpin future public investment under the Superfast Essex programme.
We expect to complete Phase 4 in stages, with the geographical areas to be reached at each stage to be determined as we shape our investment plans. The first stage of Phase 4 (Phase 4a) will be part-funded by contributions from Basildon Borough Council, Braintree District Council and Epping Forest District Council and will therefore aim to address existing coverage gaps in those respective districts. Procurement for Phase 4a is expected to run from October 2017 to May 2018. Phase 4b procurement for the remaining areas of Essex eligible for investment is due to take place from July to December 2018. Delivery timescales will be established as contracts are awarded and plans mobilised. All Phase 4 work is to be completed by 2021.
To read the Superfast Essex Phase 4 State Aid Public Consultation Feedback, click on the link below: