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£24m deal to connect 24k more Essex homes and businesses with superfast broadband

Superfast Essex phase 3 roll-out plans are revealed. From left William Priest, interim chief executive BDUK; Rowena D�Rosario, BT programme manager; Essex county councillor Gagan Mohindra; Tony Smith, Openreach delivery manager; Super Sam; Steve Haines, BT managing director; Connie Kerbst, Superfast Essex senior programme manager; David Wilde, Essex County Council director for digital; Joshua Burton, BDUK local project director. Picture: PAUL STARR

Superfast Essex phase 3 roll-out plans are revealed. From left William Priest, interim chief executive BDUK; Rowena D�Rosario, BT programme manager; Essex county councillor Gagan Mohindra; Tony Smith, Openreach delivery manager; Super Sam; Steve Haines, BT managing director; Connie Kerbst, Superfast Essex senior programme manager; David Wilde, Essex County Council director for digital; Joshua Burton, BDUK local project director. Picture: PAUL STARR

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.

Superfast Essex phase 3 roll-out plans are revealed. From left (back) Connie Kerbst, Superfast Essex senior programme manager; Essex county councillor Gagan Mohindra; Super Sam; Joe Frost, Gigaclear business development director; Joshua Burton, BDUK local project director. (Front) David Wilde, Essex County Council director for digital; Matthew Hare, Gigaclear chief executive. Picture: MELISSA PAGESuperfast Essex phase 3 roll-out plans are revealed. From left (back) Connie Kerbst, Superfast Essex senior programme manager; Essex county councillor Gagan Mohindra; Super Sam; Joe Frost, Gigaclear business development director; Joshua Burton, BDUK local project director. (Front) David Wilde, Essex County Council director for digital; Matthew Hare, Gigaclear chief executive. Picture: MELISSA PAGE

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.

In separate parts of the phase, Gigaclear will connect 3,800 premises in Braintree and Colchester districts, BT will connect 6,800 addresses across five districts including Maldon and Colchester, while Gainshare for BT will connect 8,900 properties in four districts including Colchester and Chelmsford.

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.

All public funding is being complemented by “significant” investment from BT and Gigaclear.

Gagan Mohindra, deputy county councillor for economic growth, infrastructure, and the digital economy, said: “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

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