Superfast network is going the distance

Superfast Essex is celebrating reaching the next key milestone in its journey to become one of the best connected counties in the UK.

More than 20,000 additional homes and businesses across the county can now access superfast broadband from more than 100 fibre broadband cabinets which are now live.

The achievement comes as the national rollout, co-ordinated centrally by the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) team within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), celebrates that superfast broadband access has now been enabled for more than 2million premises across the UK.

Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Infrastructure, said: “We are now a quarter of the way through delivering what we promised when the programme first started. This is an excellent achievement and is testament to the good working relationship we have with BT. More superfast access, means more people and businesses can get online, and better opportunities for economic growth.”

Essex County Council’s broadband programme, being delivered in partnership with BT, began deploying new green fibre broadband cabinets in April 2014. The programme is progressing well and remains on track for completion at the end of summer 2016, with planning for further work continuing.

So far engineers have laid just over 200km of spine fibre cable, which is enough to complete a lap of the M25.

Bill Murphy, Managing Director of BT, said: “Today marks a giant step forward in the rollout of fibre broadband in Essex and across the UK. In Essex more than 600,000 homes and businesses now have access to high-speed fibre broadband thanks to Superfast Essex and BT’s own commercial fibre broadband programme.

“Working in partnership with Essex County Council we have been able to reach into the heart of scores of communities across the region that have so far been beyond the reach of this vital technology. Already we can see the impact that fibre is having nationally with the Government’s estimate of more than 56,000 jobs created as a result of this rollout by 2024 and rural economies benefiting by around £9 million every day due to the work being done now.

“We are proud to be delivering on our promises and BT’s high-speed fibre network now reaches almost 22 million premises nationwide – around three quarters of the UK – but we recognise there’s more to do.”

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the progress made in rolling out superfast broadband across Essex. As a result of the work done so far, more than 20,000 local homes and businesses can now access superfast speeds, and the project is already delivering a welcome boost for the Essex economy.”

Around 400 cabinets are being rolled out across all districts and boroughs in Essex, as well as Southend and Thurrock, to build on the existing commercial network to ensure 87% of the county can access superfast broadband next summer. A second phase of work is being planned aiming to increase this to 95%.

Register your interest in superfast broadband by completing the Make the Connection survey at www.superfastessex.org/getinvolved. Find out the latest information for your area using the Postcode Checker at www.superfastessex.org/postcode.