Q1. How does Essex County Council select areas for investment under the Superfast Essex programme?

The Superfast Essex programme uses a five-step process to maximise the use of public funding. Read the full process here: www.superfastessex.org/planningprocess

Q2. When and how can I get faster broadband?

Follow our simple steps to see if you can switch to superfast broadband today: www.superfastessex.org/getconnected

Q3. Can I buy a broadband service from Essex County Council?

No, Essex County Council is not a broadband provider. The role of the Superfast Essex programme is to ensure that the broadband infrastructure in Essex is upgraded. This work is enabling private internet service providers (ISPs) to offer faster broadband.

Once the work is complete, you can choose an ISP to buy your broadband service from. Please see our providers page for more information: www.superfastessex.org/providers

Q4. What is fibre broadband?

Superfast Essex uses a mix of Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology. Read more about the differences and other technologies here: www.superfastessex.org/technologies

Q5. I believe my current broadband speed isn't good enough, is there anything I can do to help improve it?

If you believe the current download speed you're receiving isn’t good enough, here are some helpful tips:

- Carry out a speed test, using a third party speed checker website, such as: speedtest.btwholesale.comwww.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk or https://broadbandtest.which.co.uk.  
- Check out Ofcom’s connection tips for some helpful hints.
- Call your broadband provider to find out if there is anything else they can do to help you, or report a fault.
- Visit our interactive map to find out if you are in Superfast Essex’s forthcoming plans.
- Complete our Make the Connection survey to let us know of your demand for faster broadband.

Q6. When will the planned Superfast Essex work for my area be complete?

The interactive map shows the contractual timescale for when the programme’s work will be completed by. Our About page also has a table which shows all phases of work and their timescales.

Openreach and Gigaclear will also provide Superfast Essex with an earlier view of when work is planned to be completed by and the interactive map will be updated when this information is available.

We also post weekly ‘new live cabinet’ updates on our Live Cabinets List for fibre to the cabinet deployments, as well as our Superfast Essex social media channels, so please do follow us on Twitter or Facebook to receive these and other programme updates.

Q7. Who funds the programme?

The Superfast Essex programme is funded by Essex County Council, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Openreach and Gigaclear. Our About page has a table which shows all phases of work and any funding contributions from local authorities.

Q8. My area has been upgraded to superfast, but I am not getting superfast speeds. What should I do?

Once the map shows that your address has been upgraded to access fibre broadband (you’ll see a pink dot), you’ll need to get in touch with an internet service provider and ask them to switch. Please remember that nobody is automatically connected to superfast broadband once the upgrade is complete. Visit our Get Connected page for more information.

Q9. What is the difference between Superfast Essex’s work and ‘commercial work’?

‘Commercial work’ refers to a broadband network operators’ deployment plans that are not happening in conjunction with the Superfast Essex programme.

Before Superfast Essex is able to connect properties in Essex to superfast broadband, the programme must identify the areas of market failure that are eligible for investment and able to be included in future plans. To do this, Superfast Essex will ask the commercial broadband market to supply us with information on what superfast broadband coverage already exists or is planned to be made available in the next three years. The programme conducted an Open Market Review (OMR) in July 2016, followed by public consultations in August 2017 and July 2018, as an opportunity to review and update the broadband data for planning the latest phases of work. During the OMR process and/or subsequent consultations, six commercial broadband network operators responded and made us aware of their coverage. These operators are listed on the Commercial Operators page

Superfast Essex is working with two network operators, Openreach and Gigaclear, to deliver the current contracted phases of work in Essex. As part of the OMR and consultations, both Openreach and Gigaclear have also told us where they have existing or planned ‘commercial’ coverage, i.e., work that has happened or is happening outside of the work they are contracted to deliver as part of the Superfast Essex programme.

Under EU State Aid laws, Superfast Essex is legally unable to invest public funding where commercial superfast broadband coverage is already available or planned to be made available as defined under the OMR in 2016. This means, if a property is already able to access superfast broadband from one of the six network operators that responded to the OMR or consultations, Superfast Essex is unable to include them in the programme’s plans. Openreach or Gigaclear may choose to include properties in its plans commercially, i.e., it won’t be funded by the Superfast Essex programme. This is sometimes referred to as ‘overbuild’ or ‘infill’. Any questions regarding commercial work should be sent to the operator in question directly and not to the Superfast Essex team.