Superfast Essex Programme Update – February 2017

Please find below the latest Programme Update from Superfast Essex, the team within Essex County Council responsible for the BDUK fibre broadband roll-out in the county. 

Phase 3 operator bids being evaluated

Superfast Essex is pressing ahead with the early planning stages of its Phase 3 rollout. This next phase of the county’s broadband programme aims to extend superfast broadband coverage beyond the existing target of 120,000 homes and businesses which is expected to be reached by the end of the current Phase 2a and 2b rollouts.

The programme team is currently working with independent consultants to evaluate responses from network operators who bid to carry out the Phase 3 work as part of a procurement exercise.

The tender, worth up to £10million, was open to all broadband technologies and split into four areas (known as ‘Lots’). Responses have been received for all four of them, so we hope to appoint delivery partner(s) for all Lots.

The scope of properties eligible for inclusion in Phase 3 is as follows:

  • Uttlesford – up to 5,500 premises
  • Central North – up to 4,500 premises
  • Tendring – up to 5,500 premises
  • South East – up to 8,500 premises

The exact number of properties to be reached will be determined through the procurement process.

We expect to select the network operator(s) we will work with and have more detailed plans to share in Spring/Summer 2017.

To find out if your property is one of those eligible for inclusion in Phase 3, check for a white circle on our interactive State Aid map at: www.superfastessex.org/whatshappeningnext.

BT’s fibre delivery boosts businesses

The programme’s planned fibre broadband rollout delivered by BT is progressing well.

The current delivery of Phase 2a of the programme has seen an additional 15,000 premises enabled to access fibre at superfast speeds since it began last summer, bringing the total number of homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband to 80,000. Phase 2a is due to complete in 2019, with an expected 116,000 addresses to receive a boost in superfast broadband connectivity.

Of the 80,000 premises connected, BT has brought high-speed fibre broadband more than 9,000 businesses across the county, giving a much needed boost to the local economy in some of the most rural areas of the county.

The technology can enhance the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new opportunities and customers, while opening up a host of new learning, entertainment and development opportunities for households.

Visit the interactive map to see the most up to date information regarding the Superfast Essex programme.

Communities applying for Wi-Fi Scheme

So far 14 communities in Essex have expressed their interest in the Superfast Essex Community Wi-Fi Scheme and have submitted applications for funding from Essex County Council’s Community Initiatives Fund (CIF).

Under the scheme, community hubs (such as village halls or community centres) can buy a broadband service from two approved suppliers, APC Solutions or County Broadband.

With broadband infrastructure being upgraded across the county over the next few years we would like to support local communities to experience superfast speeds at their local community hubs, encouraging them to see how it might benefit them at home.

Initial set up costs will be supported by the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) and community hubs will subsequently need to pay a monthly service charge.

More information on the Community Wi-Fi Scheme including costs and how to apply can be found at www.superfastessex.org/communitywifischeme and application forms for funding for the Community Wi-Fi Scheme can be found on the CIF website at www.essex.gov.uk/CIF.