Our digital connectivity area of work is about making sure that everyone has access to faster digital connections, both fixed (broadband) and mobile. Digital connectivity is one of the foundations for a successful and future-proof economy, and it will provide Essex residents and businesses with access to a growing global market for fully remote workers.
To make this happen, we have created a strategy which involves working closely with our key stakeholders to coordinate initiatives. By the end of 2025, we want to see:
Our role in increasing digital connectivity across the county is to collaborate and coordinate a strategic approach, engaging with key stakeholders to implement strategies that will result in a connected Essex, improving outcomes for residents and businesses. The two primary streams in achieving this will be through fixed and mobile connectivity.
The Superfast Essex programme has already provided superfast broadband speeds to over 160,000 premises in Essex. The scheme will continue to provide gigabit-capable speeds for the remaining premises left in the rollout, which we expect to conclude in March 2023.
Following this, Project Gigabit (BDUK’s plan to upgrade 85% of UK addresses to gigabit-capable broadband by 2025) will likely launch for procurement in 2023. This will extend the Superfast Essex programme, including thousands more premises in another state-funded rollout.
We are also working with BDUK on developing a local grant scheme. This will look to provide additional funding on top of BDUK’s voucher scheme, helping us reach the final 1% of rural addresses that still can’t access decent broadband.
We are actively engaging with mobile network operators to understand and support their local rollout plans. We have a strong relationship with Essex Highways, and are looking to enable the use of street furniture for mobile infrastructure deployment to increase both 4G and 5G connectivity.
The government is on a mission to deliver lightning-fast, reliable broadband to everyone in the UK and is investing £5 billion in Project Gigabit to ensure that hard-to-reach communities are not left out. Building Digital UK (BDUK) is carrying out a Public Review to help identify areas in Lot 21 (Essex) that may be suitable for future public funding for gigabit-capable broadband.
To find more information and respond to the review, please visit our Project Gigabit webpage.