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Businesses praise the roll-out of superfast broadband in Essex

PUBLISHED: 13:27 13 February 2016 | UPDATED: 13:27 13 February 2016

Giles Ellerton, from BT Group, David Bell, FSB Essex Chair, ECC Cllr Lady Patricia Newton, Caroline Thomas, from The Social Accelerators, ECC Cllr Kevin Bentley and Paul Pritchard, from Abacus Accountancy, gathered at to mark superfast broadband coverage achieved across Essex business parks.

Giles Ellerton, from BT Group, David Bell, FSB Essex Chair, ECC Cllr Lady Patricia Newton, Caroline Thomas, from The Social Accelerators, ECC Cllr Kevin Bentley and Paul Pritchard, from Abacus Accountancy, gathered at to mark superfast broadband coverage achieved across Essex business parks.

A celebration to mark the successful roll-out of superfast broadband to business parks across Essex was held on Thursday.

Paul Pritchard, from Abacus Accountancy, speaks about how superfast broadband coverage at Essex business parks has affected his business. Paul Pritchard, from Abacus Accountancy, speaks about how superfast broadband coverage at Essex business parks has affected his business.

Businesses and representatives from Essex County Council, Braintree District Council, BT and the Federation of Small Businesses attended the event at The Essex Golf & Country Club – next door to Earls Colne Business Park, one of the many sites enabled by the programme to access fibre broadband.

So far the Superfast Essex programme has connected 62,500 properties, of which around 6,200 are business premises, to high-speed internet. More than 140 business parks and industrial areas have been included, with a further 80 due to be upgraded in the next three years.

Kevin Bentley, deputy leader and councillor for economic growth at County Hall, said: “This is great news for businesses in Essex and demonstrates how we are delivering on our commitment to improve broadband for businesses, with the underlying objective of helping the economy to grow.”

Giles Ellerton, East of England regional partnership director for BT which has been carrying out the works, said: “Households and businesses are seeing the big difference the rollout is making. Businesses are able to engage with clients further away, including overseas, access a wide range of software packages for their industry, enjoy agile and remote working, and teams are able to work on the move and access documents thanks to cloud storage. The list of benefits is huge.”

Several Essex-based firms from fibre-enabled business parks attended the event to discuss the positive impact of the upgrade.

Paul Pritchard of Abacus Accountancy, based at The Lakes Innovation Centre in Braintree, said: “The superfast broadband has improved the services we can offer to local businesses beyond recognition.

“It enables us to offer a much better, more efficient service to our clients as we can easily upload and manage large files.

“Our telephone systems are also much more reliable meaning our communications with clients are way more effective than they were previously.

“Our business is growing as a result of being able to offer a better service, and the amount of referrals and happy testimonials we receive has nearly tripled since having high-speed fibre installed.

“Not only are we working more efficiently than ever, but it ensures we can keep our costs down as well.”

In addition to the broadband, Superfast Essex is running a series of free expert-led Digital Business Workshops, in collaboration with the Eastern Enterprise Hub, on topics including increasing online sales, attracting new customers, social media, blogging and the importance of cloud-based systems.

To find out more and book to attend visit www.superfastessex.org/digitaltoolkit.

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