Sunday, 06 December 2015 18:26

Essex digs ultrafast rural broadband

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Essex digs ultrafast rural broadband

WORK has started on the first ultrafast rural broadband network in Essex.

The first stage of digging has begun to bring ultrafast broadband to homes and businesses in the east of Epping Forest District.

It is part of a £7.5m Superfast Essex Rural Challenge project, which will deliver internet speeds of up to 1000Mbps - 40 times faster than the UK average - for everyone connected.

Ultrafast broadband provider Gigaclear is installing its pure fibre cable network directly to more than 4,500 homes and businesses.

It will provide internet speeds up to 1,000 times faster than currently available in the area.

Members of the Superfast Essex team marked the occasion as diggers began to create a track for the fibre network in Ashlyns Lane, Moreton.

They included representatives from Essex County Council, Epping Forest District Council and Gigaclear.

Homes and businesses in 18 parishes will have access to Gigaclear's ultrafast service as a result of the Rural Challenge Project.

Rural villages are expected to be included in the first phase of work taking place between now and May 2016 - but the timescales for each area remain subject to change.

The Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project contract was awarded to Gigaclear in June 2015.

A pilot project, it was designed to test an alternative way of bringing faster connectivity to rural areas which were until now not included within the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) rollout.

The main BDUK project in Essex, which is being implemented by BT, is on track to provide 116,000 premises with access to superfast speeds of 24Mbps and above by 2019.

Gigaclear will invest £5.5million in the Rural Challenge Project, which equates to more than £2 for every £1 of state aid.

It will be combined with £2million public funding from Essex County Council, BDUK and Epping Forest District Council.

Superfast Essex chairman Penny Channer said: "This will make a tremendous difference to residents and businesses in this area."

Gigaclear chief executive Matthew Hare said ultrafast broadband internet speeds would transform their online experience.

"Working from home, running a business, studying, being entertained and play will now be possible for all," he said.

"Living in a rural area doesn't mean you have to tolerate bad broadband."

Local events are being held by Gigaclear and Superfast Essex as part of the rollout to provide further information to those who will have access to the service.

Residents and businesses will have the opportunity to ask questions about the project and have their broadband questions answered.

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