Essex: Faster internet moves a step closer

Superfast broadband will be introduced in Essex later this year

Superfast broadband will be introduced in Essex later this year - Credit: PA

SUPERFAST broadband will be introduced in Essex later this year, council chiefs have said.

A contract will be awarded to a supplier to roll out the £14million internet upgrade in the summer, meaning work can begin shortly after.

Essex County Council (ECC) is currently going out to suppliers and asking them to bid for the contract.

Originally, BDUK - the national government body responsible for the project - estimated that Essex would not be able to begin the procurement process until May but ECC said they were able to demonstrate that the process could begin earlier.

It is hoped the long-awaited upgrade will be a welcome boost for businesses who have had to contend with slow and patchy internet service in parts of the county.

Superfast broadband will mean rates of up to 24 megabits per second over fibre optic cables. At the moment there are parts of the county where people were still struggling with 2megabits per second.

Kevin Bentley, ECC’s cabinet member for economic growth said: “Faster broadband speeds across the county will make a huge difference to our residents for a range of services - education, entertainment, staying in touch, online shopping, etc. It is also extremely important to businesses in the county. It could enable them to promote themselves to a new audience, allow their products to be purchased online and to keep up to date with relevant industry developments.

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“I would encourage businesses, as well as residents, to register their interest in Superfast broadband in their area. The survey results will be passed over to the chosen supplier to show them where in Essex the greatest need for an upgrade is.”

Funding for the scheme has come from central government and ECC who have both contributed £7million each.

For more information and to register interest in getting better broadband where you live or work, visit www.superfastessex.org

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