Broadband News

Essex signs contract to bring fibre based broadband to 87% of premises

Hopefully in the next few months more information will emerge on which areas will be the first to benefit from the BDUK project that has now been signed in Essex, but for now we have to make do with the headline figure that by the end of summer 2016, 87% of households and premises will have access to a fibre based broadband service, with the further aim to ensure that the remaining 13% can access broadband at 2 Mbps or faster.

"This project will see thousands of homes and businesses across Essex gain access to superfast broadband speeds and will be instrumental in driving growth, boosting the local economy, and achieving the Government’s objective of reaching 95% of UK premises by 2017."

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey

As ever the politicians over state things when there is a vested interest. The project while it may be able to go beyond the planned 87%, has as yet not published any data to show what percentage will get superfast speeds and while for many people the image of Essex is the urban sprawl of Ilford and leafy suburbs of Buckhurst Hill, there are large areas or rural farmland and old villages that have seen both bus and rail services decline significantly in the last decade or two.

The project is set to use mainly FTTC to deliver services, but some FTTP is expected in addition to the option of Fibre on Demand in areas where FTTC is available. The Essex press release talks of the average speed for Essex at 11.5 Mbps, but this hides the sharp range across the county, with Romford and Ilford both enjoying median speeds 24 Mbps down and 1.6-1.8 Mbps upload; Southend (SS) manages 13.9 Mbps and 1 Mbps, Chelmsford (CM) 8.4 Mbps and 0.9 Mbps and Colchester 8.5 Mbps and 0.9 Mbps. Saffron Walden (CB10 and CB11) is part of the Cambridgeshire (CB) postcode area which has a speed of 6.6 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up even when you include Cambridge.

The £24.6 million contract is split with the County Council and BDUK both adding £6.46m to the fund and BT £11.7m. While we can all wring our hands and worry ourselves over the amounts, the real test will be whether in late 2016 take-up of the faster services is resulting in better speeds particularly in the areas outside the M25.

On a footnote, if you live in Essex and want a chance to win a Dell XPS 10 tablet, then fill in the survey on the website. It is unlikely that filling in the survey will guarantee you faster speeds, but then if no-one fills these things in the councils might get the idea nobody is bothered.


One of the lowest aspirations ? A table would be nice at some stage - % superfast, % fibre based, >=2M etc.

  • herdwick
  • over 7 years ago

@herdwick: Wishful thinking, you won't get further details for a long time. No proper surveys yet done either!

  • JNeuhoff
  • over 7 years ago

I meant comparing the project headline claims across counties.

  • herdwick
  • over 7 years ago

There's something about eastern England not being very ambitious on their targets... all the counties that have announced less than 90% coverage seem to be there. Or it could show just ho rural the whole area is!

Norfolk 80%
Suffolk 85%
North Lincolnshire 85%
Essex 87%
Lincolnshire 88%

The only exception is the Scottish Highlands & Islands, which is targeting 84%. However, that project has a huge budget, and a lot of sub-sea crossings... and can't really be described as unambitious!

  • WWWombat
  • over 7 years ago

@WWWombat: Perhaps more of an issue of incompetence of council and local district? Or BT? Or both? If a densely populated town of 10 000 can't be commercially rolled out with VDSL, let alone fibre, then there is something fundamentally wrong.

  • JNeuhoff
  • over 7 years ago

Jneuhoo -- if iam correct and your exchnage is brighlingsea that means its a market 2 exhchnage with less that 4,000 premises (which is why not commercial) -- why it was not cinldued in commercai roll out is acommercial decision ( there will not be many martek 2 sub 4000 premises decployed under the commercail programme)-- i hope you resgistered with superfast essex to ensure you were covered in the intervention area and B was actually gaining some benefit-

  • fastman
  • over 7 years ago

@fastman: There are probably many places like that. As I said if a town with thousands of lines cannot be commercially served then there is a serious flaw with the underlying technology and business plan. Especially since most towns are densely populated, unlike remote rural outposts.

  • JNeuhoff
  • over 7 years ago

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