About the Superfast Essex Programme

Superfast Essex is a broadband improvement programme run by Essex County Council.

It is part of the Government’s national Superfast Broadband programme.

The programme aims to make superfast broadband available to as much of Essex as possible. The term ‘superfast’ refers to broadband download speeds of 30 megabits-per-second (Mbps) and above.

The programme is funded by Essex County Council, the Government and the network operators working on each contract. There have also been funding contributions from local councils towards some phases of work. It is also worth noting that our Phase 4b programme of work is fully funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Find out more on how the EAFRD is funding our Phase 4b work.

Superfast Essex is working with two network operators, Openreach and Gigaclear, to make this happen. The programme is broken up into delivery phases and contracts, some of which are now finished, and some are still being delivered. The various contracts have different start and end dates. The list below also shows which operator is working on each contract.



District area

Local authority funding contribution

Build start date

Completion date

1 Openreach Essex-wide N/A April 2014 June 2016
2a Openreach Essex-wide (Not inc. Epping Forest or Southend/Thurrock) Braintree, Maldon, Tendring   February 2020
2b Gigaclear Epping Forest Epping Forest Late 2015 May 2018
3.1 Gigaclear Uttlesford Uttlesford Underway  December 2021
3.2 Gigaclear Braintree, Colchester N/A Underway  December 2021
3.3 Openreach Tendring Tendring Underway  November 2020
3.4 Openreach Castle Point, Colchester, Maldon, Rochford N/A Underway  November 2020
4a.1 Gigaclear Epping Forest Epping Forest Underway December 2021
4a.2 Openreach Basildon Basildon Underway November 2020
4a.3 Openreach Braintree Braintree Underway November 2020
4b.4 Openreach Brentwood, Chelmsford, Harlow, Uttlesford N/A July 2020 March 2021
4b.5 Openreach Castle Point, Colchester, Maldon, Rochford, Tendring N/A July 2020 March 2021
4b.6 Openreach Thurrock N/A October 2020 March 2021

Superfast Essex has created an interactive rollout map to help show what broadband coverage is available or planned under this programme in Essex. Enter your address on the map page to find out what broadband coverage is available at your property. There are full instructions on the map page to explain what the different map categories mean.

The programme uses a mix of Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology, also known as full fibre or ultrafast broadband. Read more about the differences on our broadband technologies page.


Openreach is upgrading its existing copper network to fibre using a mixture of both technologies in its delivery. FTTC has enabled many properties to access superfast broadband via green cabinets found on pavements or roadsides. All cabinets that Openreach has upgraded to fibre under this programme are listed at https://www.superfastessex.org/get-connected/our-work/openreach/. As work has reached more rural areas, FTTC is not always able to achieve superfast speeds, meaning FTTP is being used more.


Gigaclear is building a brand new full fibre network. This is separate to the existing network from Openreach and other broadband operators. Gigaclear uses only FTTP technology. All communities upgraded or in plans to be upgraded to access the Gigaclear network can be found listed at www.superfastessex.org/gigaclearcabinets.

Other operator coverage

Superfast Essex also has information from some broadband operators about their existing and planned broadband coverage in Essex, which is not part of the Superfast Essex programme. This information is also shown on the map. Read the information in the pop-up box on the map and follow the links to learn more. The operators that have told Superfast Essex about their existing and planned coverage are named on the Commercial Operators page.