Our story

Digital Essex Logo

Digital Essex has been set up by Essex County Council as the central body for countywide digital initiatives.

We aim to ensure that no individual or business is excluded from digital opportunities due to lack of high-speed and affordable broadband connections, equipment, or skills.

With a programme of work that covers digital connectivity and inclusion, we will work with our partners to deliver and support projects in alignment with the Digital Strategy for Essex and Everyone’s Essex, Essex County Council’s plan for Levelling Up the county.

Boosting digital connectivity

Since 2013, our award-winning Superfast Essex broadband programme has upgraded one in every six addresses across the county to fibre broadband. This proved crucial for the Essex economy and the wellbeing of our residents during the pandemic.

Technology and user expectations have shifted as people now look for lightning-speed digital connectivity. We need to face this challenge and act to ensure that these new, faster services – delivered by gigabit-capable or 5G technology – reach everyone in Essex and are used to benefit the lives of our residents and businesses. Currently it’s forecasted that the commercial rollout of gigabit-capable broadband will only reach 80% of our geography and will leave behind the hardest-to-reach areas.

Going forward, the team will work to support commercial rollouts and develop projects to help reach rural homes and businesses in the hardest-to-reach areas of the county.

Championing digital inclusion

In Essex, a fifth of households don’t use the internet at all – and, for those that do, more than half either go online for limited reasons or with limited skills.

Digital Essex is working with key partners across the county, developing plans to tackle the causes of digital exclusion: access, affordability and the adoption of skills. Using a locality focused approach, we will work to deliver projects and targeted campaigns to ensure that no one is left behind in the evolving digital world.

Driving the digital economy

We recognise that excellent digital connectivity is one of the key foundations for a successful and future-proof economy. The key to building a stronger economy for the future is enabling people to build the skills they need to be part of the business recovery.

With our ambition to become a centre of digital innovation in the UK, we have identified key sectors where we will seek to drive business growth, innovation and inward investment, such as medical and green technologies. To grow these sectors and realise the benefits of digital technology and connected healthcare, we have identified that access to enhanced connectivity such as 5G is needed.

In addition to maintaining active engagement with the mobile network operators to support their local rollout plans for 4G and 5G, we will work with our partners to drive the deployment of faster digital connections, making use of the county council’s assets, including street furniture and properties.