Essex has announced plans for superfast fibre broadband rollout under the BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) scheme.
The £26.4million plan will benefit 500,000 homes and firms across Essex that aren’t already due to be connected under BT’s own commercial rollout.
By Summer 2016, 87 per cent of locations throughout Essex will have access to fibre-based broadband connections. The majority of these connections will be FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband, providing top speeds of 80Mbps. A handful of locations will benefit from the much faster FTTP (Fibre to the Premises)-type connections.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to BT Broadband Rollout UpdatesFTTP On Demand will be available to businesses across Essex who want to pay to upgrade the copper last mile of an FTTC line should they want to get speeds of up to 330Mbps and future-proof their business for 10Gbps.
Superfast broadband coverage should increase to cover 95 of locations by Summer 2017, as per the government’s new ambitions. Those in the remaining five per cent will get a basic 2Mbps service. This is expected to be delivered via bonded DSL.
Rural businesses in particular stand to benefit as agriculture, marine and woodland companies dominate in Essex, despite the county’s proximity to London and the onesie-centric media spotlight on this much-maligned area of the country.
Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Infrastructure said: “Now that this contract has been signed we can begin working with BT to build a full picture of the broadband requirements in Essex. These upgrades will make a real difference to Essex residents and in particular, businesses that have difficulty trading and communicating online because of slow speeds.”
Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “This announcement is excellent news for Essex and the next stage of an exciting journey for the county. In today’s digital world, a fast and reliable broadband service is vital if the economy is to thrive, helping to attract new inward investment to Essex and helping local businesses expand.
“This is a big day for people across Essex, especially those in small businesses, who should be really excited by what the future could hold for them.”
The first premises in Essex to benefit from BDUK money are due to be upgraded by June 2014. In the meantime, homes and businesses will continue to be upgraded as BT continues its own £2.5 billion rollout, which is aims to have completed by Spring 2014.
As for those in the 5 per cent, it’ll be up to Essex County Council to release postcode information so other companies can step in and fill the superfast divide.