Essex: Superfast broadband project launched
A superfast broadband cabinet was unveiled at Severall’s Business Park in Colchester today at the launch of a project to improve connectivity across Essex.
Two other cabinets, in Rivenhall and Harlow, will be officially opened tomorrow and the three cabinets will benefit approximately 300 homes and businesses.
They are the beginning of part one of a nine-phase Superfast Essex project, a £24.6million initiative to deliver fibre broadband to more than 87% of premises in the county by the end of summer 2016, with the potential to achieve superfast speeds of 24Mbps and above.
It also hopes to win some extension funding to roll-out the scheme to 95% coverage. Additionally the programme, being delivered by BT Openreach, aims to deliver 2Mbps for all premises in Essex.
Money from the Government’s BDUK project was match-funded by Essex County Council (ECC) with additional top-up funding from BT.
It is estimated engineers will lay nearly 900km of optical fibre and install more than 400 new green fibre broadband cabinets at roadsides throughout the county.
Aimed at areas not commercially viable for fibre broadband, the project builds on BT’s own plans which have already extended superfast broadband to more than 500,000 Essex premises.
Open to all operators the new network will offer a competitive price for the service. However households and businesses have to ask their provider for the service as their connection is not automatically upgraded.
Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of ECC and councillor for economic development, said: “Not everyone will have the same speed, but wherever you are you should see an improvement.
“It is important for businesses, but also residents who contribute by shopping online, working from home, and so on. The way we operate is very different now.”
Anne Turrell, leader of Colchester Borough Council, added: “Colchester is fully behind this, and I am really happy our businesses are getting a bit more help.”
Tim Price, chairman of the Essex branch of the Institute of Directors (Iod), outlined the benefit to businesses.
He said: “We are working in a global environment with high speed communications. The ability to deploy data quickly and effectively can be the difference between being competitive.
“The IoD surveyed its membership last year and 83% said superfast broadband would make a difference to their business.
“This is a statement that Colchester is open for business.”
To check if you are connected, or when you are likely to be, visit www.superfastessex.org.