Programme Update - March 2021

Superfast Essex Programme Update - March 2021

Take part in our broadband survey!

It’s time to have your say in the Essex County Council Broadband Survey, which gives you the chance to register your demand for faster broadband. By taking part, you’ll help Superfast Essex identify whether your address is eligible to be included in future state-funded broadband rollouts.

To date, the Superfast Essex programme has reached almost 140,000 homes and businesses across the county with superfast and ultrafast broadband connectivity – but we don’t want to stop there!

Infographic of survey

Now, more than ever, people are reliant on their internet connection to work from home, stay connected to loved ones virtually, and home school their children. But we know that some of you are still unable to access broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps. We’re hoping that, with the help of our survey, we’ll be able to reach more of you in future plans.

The broadband survey will take less than five minutes to complete and could better your chances of gaining access to improved broadband connectivity.

Please share the Essex County Council Broadband Survey with friends, family and colleagues – the more people who have their say, the more informed we’ll be of homes and businesses across Essex that need access to better broadband!

Gigaclear connects more addresses to full fibre

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More than 6,200 addresses across the Braintree, Colchester, Epping Forest and Uttlesford districts can now access broadband speeds up to 900Mbps, thanks to the full fibre work we have carried out to date with network operator Gigaclear.

In Epping Forest District, a further 250 homes and businesses are now connected to full fibre as part of our Phase 4 build. Since our last Programme Update, several addresses are now live in Dobbs Weir, Epping Upland, Lambourne, Norton Heath and Ongar, with work to connect more properties in Hastingwood, Sewardstone, Lower Nazeing and Nine Ashes underway.

Work is progressing elsewhere in the county too, with almost 1,900 homes and businesses in Uttlesford District able to access full fibre under our Phase 3 work, and plans to connect another 2,100 addresses as the rollout continues.

The Braintree and Colchester districts are also benefiting from full fibre broadband, with nearly 1,370 properties already connected and another 1,900 set to benefit. However, Gigaclear has let us know that the rollout in parts of these districts will now take longer than planned to complete.

Most homes and businesses won’t be affected by this change, with the majority still able to access full fibre by the end of December 2021 as previously planned. But a smaller number of addresses will now be connected by March 2022. We’ve written to the parishes affected by this change, and each community has a revised estimated timeframe for work to be completed within the overall network build.

The Superfast Essex interactive map has been updated to reflect the date changes and you can also enter your address via the Gigaclear Postcode Checker to register for direct updates, so you can be kept up to date on the build progress.

Openreach broadband rollout presses ahead

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Despite the national lockdown, Openreach has found ways to continue its infrastructure build, bringing more fibre broadband to the residents of Essex.

The Phase 3 and 4 contracts have so far enabled 10,700 residents and businesses across the county to access fibre broadband, with more addresses set to benefit from superfast and ultrafast speeds. 

Openreach has notified us that the majority of work will be completed by March 2021, but the build to a small number of addresses will finish after this date. In addition, the completion date of Openreach’s 4b contract is currently under review and may be extended.

The interactive map has been updated with estimated completion dates for the ongoing work and is being monitored on a weekly basis, so we suggest that you check this to find out more.

Openreach has advised that due to the increasingly complex nature of the fibre network build in mostly rural areas, delays are due to: time needed to arrange traffic management and road closures, difficulty in obtaining wayleaves, and Covid-19 restrictions.

Don’t forget, once you’ve been upgraded, you’re not automatically connected to fibre broadband – you need to contact your existing or an alternative provider. Follow our simple steps and get connected today!

Disruption as broadband rollout gains momentum

Road ahead closed and diversion signs

We know that residents in Essex are noticing an increased amount of civil engineering work taking place as fibre broadband networks continue to be rolled out across the county.

Work by the Superfast Essex programme is contributing to this, but we’ve also seen a sharp rise in commercial activity in Essex. This is in response to the government’s ambition to accelerate the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband across the UK.

Essex County Council is working hard to manage this increased demand and make sure that safety standards and the condition of our road network are maintained in line with government regulations.

But we also know that these works mean a high level of disruption for local communities due to partial road closures, diversions, or simply work taking place in wet and muddy conditions. We are working to minimise disruption where possible.

We’d like to ask for your continued support and patience as we continue to deploy gigabit-capable broadband networks across Essex. All this work will result in faster connections, allowing you to do more online.

If you have any concerns about roadworks, please find out who is working in your area and contact them in the first instance. If your enquiry needs to be escalated, please visit the Essex Highways website.

Residents share their full fibre broadband stories

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With superfast, and now more predominantly, ultrafast broadband being rolled out in the Superfast Essex programme, we're seeing more Essex residents transform their lives by upgrading to ultrafast speeds. Find out more about full fibre broadband and what it could do for you.

When Linda Gemmil moved address, checking her broadband status was the last thing on her mind. But when she decided to launch her new business from home, she knew video calls and general internet access would be critical to getting her business off the ground. Take a look at how ultrafast broadband helped to make Linda's business launch a success!

man sitting with dog on lap

When the first lockdown hit back in March 2020, PhD student Tom Charman knew being able to study from home was going to be critical to completing his research. Fortunately, an ultrafast connection is helping Tom to complete his PhD, and he's since helped others in his community switch over to an ultrafast broadband service!

If you have a story you'd like to share about how superfast or ultrafast has benefited your life at home or work, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us and we'll arrange a convenient time for a chat.