MP welcomes broadband improvement but says more still needs to be done in Uttlesford

PUBLISHED: 07:55 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 07:55 12 February 2018

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Essex County Council’s rollout of superfast broadband has reached 100,000 homes and businesses, but the service could be better in North West Essex according to Kemi Badenoch, MP for Saffron Walden.

The Superfast Essex programme is the fibre infrastructure rollout being co-ordinated by the county council in partnership with network operators Openreach and Gigaclear.

100,000 more Essex homes and businesses can now access superfast speeds of 30Mbps and above.

The programme is ongoing with work planned to reach more than 144,000 homes and businesses by early 2020. Further work, seeking to address the remaining gaps in coverage by the end of 2021, is currently being commissioned.

But Ms Badenoch said: “I’m pleased to see such positive figures for broadband coverage across the UK, but we can do better in north west Essex.

“Local economies like ours rely on a level playing field in digital infrastructure. I have continually questioned the secretary of state on what provisions he is making for those who will not receive the same service as others in the Superfast Essex scheme, and I will continue to push hard at both a local and national level for us not to be forgotten.”

The news comes as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announces the nationwide superfast broadband rollout, led by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), successfully achieved its target of providing at least 95 per cent of the UK with access to superfast broadband by the end of 2017.

Superfast Essex has helped contribute to this national target, and the Openreach rollout in the county continues to be three months ahead of schedule. In total more than 385km of fibre cabling has been installed under the subsidised deployment programme across the county.

Essex county councillor Kevin Bentley, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic growth, skills, infrastructure and the digital economy, said: “Superfast Essex has made tremendous progress in helping our county become better connected and reaching 100,000 homes and businesses is a phenomenal milestone.

“We are not complacent and know there is still more to do but this is a fantastic achievement and one we should be proud of.”

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