What is digital connectivity?

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:

  • Superfast broadband speeds available at all addresses in Essex
  • Gigabit-capable broadband speeds available to more than 85% of addresses in Essex
  • 4G available across 99% of Essex postcodes
  • 5G available at key employment locations and priority areas

Our activities

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.

Fixed 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 is currently in procurement for Lot 5. 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.

Mobile connectivity

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.