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Essex to invest £10m taking superfast past 95% mark
Friday 11 November 2016 11:03:53 by Andrew Ferguson

The Superfast Essex programme has announced the level of investment for its phase 3 project and some £10m of public money is set to be allocated to four areas of Essex and in the case of Tendring District the aim being to reach 100% superfast coverage.

"Phase 3 will bring together savings from the existing Superfast Essex programme, contributions from Tendring District Council and Uttlesford District Council, and a new grant from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) – the team within Government overseeing the national superfast broadband rollout.

The tender for the new rollout was launched on Thursday 10 November and the requirement has been split into four separate zones, known as ‘Lots’.

Across the four Lots, an estimated 24,000 premises are eligible for inclusion in the Phase 3 rollout. The actual number of properties to be included will be determined during the procurement process. The lots are split as follows:

  • Uttlesford District – 5,500 premises. One of the most rural districts in the county with significantly poor connectivity.
  • Central North – 4,500 premises. This includes parts of Braintree, Colchester and Chelmsford districts.
  • Tendring District – 5,500 premises. To help Tendring District reach 100% superfast broadband coverage.
  • South East – 8,500 premises. This includes rural areas along the coastline of Maldon and Rochford districts and parts of Castle Point and Basildon districts.
Extract from press release

The phase 1 project completed in June 2016, and thus our July figures should show what was achieved and that was superfast broadband coverage of 86% at 30 Mbps or faster. Since then the phase 2 roll-out which has seen coverage improve to 87.5% and with 26 months to the deadline the 95% target looks possible if the pace of roll-out is maintained.

Phase 3 with an intervention area of 24,000 is around 4% of premises in Essex, but that is the intervention area a lot will depend on how the procurement goes and it seems the council is keen to embrace not just fixed line fibre (VDSL/FTTP) and is highlighting that the lots are open to any technology capable of delivering 30 Mbps speeds.

There is sometimes an oddity with regards to how the 30 Mbps figure is used and while in the BT contracts the 24 and 30 Mbps definitions mean a minimum of that speed (yes some don't get that but they are not billed as superfast in the contract) we have seem some competitors pushing technology where the fastest package you can buy is up to 30 Mbps and pricing means the majority elect for slower than that. So as much as BT Group is referred to as snake oil sales people some of the alternatives engage in it just as much, sometimes more so. Essex is working with Gigaclear for some of the phase 2 work, and we are sure many are hoping that Gigaclear or other FTTP solutions will bid in these lots.

Comments

Posted by GERALDMANCE 22 days ago
I live in Leigh-on-sea and live in an area where the all properties surrounding this pocket of properties, enjoy superfast broadband, why they did not complete the whole area, I do not know. I have complained to Essex County Council, broadband team but it has fallen on deaf ears, well cheesed of with poor internet speed when all the rest of the town gets a very good service.
Posted by WWWombat 22 days ago
"fallen on deaf ears"
Probably not quite true, just on ears that know the target isn't yet 100%: some people will be missing out.

You do look to be on the smallest cabinet on the exchange. The next-smallest was upgraded by the BDUK project, so you probably are close to the "value for money" tests to get into a project. You might make it yet...
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