Uttlesford to benefit from £24m deal to bring superfast broadband to 24k more properties in Essex
PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:40 30 June 2017
PAUL STARR Photographer
More than 24,000 homes and businesses in Essex are set to get superfast broadband under a £24million deal from Essex County Council.
County Hall has signed three new contracts, and altered an existing one, to create phase three of the Superfast Essex project.
It will be delivered alongside phase two, and is due to be completed by December 2019.
Funding for phase three comes from savings achieved from phase one, plus some subsidy from phase one being reclaimed from BT due to a higher-than expected take-up of the new services. In addition there is a contribution from Uttlesford District Council, and matching government grant from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) for delivery in Uttlesford.
All public funding is being complemented by “significant” investment from Gigaclear and BT, which is running parts of the project elsewhere in Essex.
Gigaclear will connect 4,600 premises in Uttlesford under that part of the project, while it will also connect 3,800 premises in rural Braintree and Colchester.
Howard Ryles, Uttlesford district councillor for economic development, said: “As a largely rural district, we are well aware of the impact of not having access to superfast broadband.
“Improving digital connectivity across Uttlesford has been a key priority for the council and so we are delighted that phase three is set to bring faster and more reliable broadband to our residents and businesses.
“Investing in this project will make Uttlesford one of the best connected districts in the county, and will particularly help to ensure it is a place where businesses can thrive, wherever people want to work.”
Gagan Mohindra, deputy county councillor for economic growth, infrastructure, and the digital economy, added: “The achievement of the Superfast Essex rollout so far has been fantastic and I’m thrilled there is plenty more to come.
“These new contracts show our determination to become one of the best connected counties in the UK and I look forward to hearing about more success in the future.”
So far Superfast Essex has connected 85,000 homes and businesses, with more than 144,000 due to be reached by December 2019.
Preparations are now underway to add a final phase, aimed at securing superfast connectivity to remaining premises not included in the new plans.
Steve Haines, managing director for Openreach, the local arm of BT for the project, said: “The excellent progress on this project is a great achievement. This demonstrates the strength of the partnership, as well as the determination of the people working on the programme, and we’ll continue working well together to deliver the next stages of the rollout to reach even more properties.
“This exciting technology is making a major contribution to the success and prosperity of Essex because whatever you do online you can do it better with superfast fibre broadband.”
Joe Frost, Gigaclear’s business development director, added: “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Superfast Essex following the success of the Rural Challenge pilot project. We look forward to upgrading many more communities to an ultrafast experience thanks to phase three.”
To see if your home or business is included in phase three, see the interactive rollout map at www.superfastessex.org/maps