£66 million pound boost for Essex broadband

220,000 Essex homes and businesses can now access ultrafast broadband through Openreach

More than 220,000 homes and businesses across Essex – around 33% - can now order some of the fastest, most reliable broadband in Europe thanks to Openreach, the UK’s digital network provider.

Many people living and working in Billericay, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Epping, Herongate, Hullbridge, Latchingdon, Nazeing and Wickford can already benefit from the new technology, and in the next 18 months, tens of thousands more are set to follow in locations such as Basildon, Braintree, Clacton-on-Sea, Grays Thurrock, Harwich, Laindon, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Stanford-le-Hope as Openreach engineers continue to build the new network across the country.  A new and improved map of Openreach’s announced exchanges is available on its website and consumers can see what infrastructure is available at their address using Openreach’s fibre checker.

So far, Openreach has spent around £66 million[1] commercially and in partnership with Essex County Council’s Digital Essex programme.

The new ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre network is up to ten times faster than UK broadband connection and around five times more reliable than the old, copper-based network that it’s replacing.  But tens of thousands of residents and businesses have yet to upgrade and are not taking advantage of the benefits of the new technology.

Kieran Wines

Kieran Wines, Openreach’s partnership director for the East of England said, “Research shows that this new network will give businesses an edge and give families and home-workers future-proofed connectivity, no matter what life throws at us next.

“Following our earlier work in partnership with Essex County Council, our commercial investment across Essex continues at pace, and we’re determined to deliver a great service which helps communities to thrive and supports people to work from home easily, keep in touch with their loved ones and build connections and opportunities.

Douglas Parrant, Head of Digital Connectivity at Essex County Council said, “This is an excellent milestone by Openreach, who we’ve collaborated with to bring gigabit connectivity to our residents.

The provision of full fibre broadband will future-proof Essex addresses, allowing residents and businesses to engage with the growing number of digital opportunities our county has to offer; which will provide a welcome boost to the Essex economy.”

Through joint efforts, we will continue together on vital broadband improvement work to ensure no one is left behind in the digital revolution.’’

Kieran added, “Gigabit-capable broadband can have a huge impact on people’s lives and it’s great for the economy, but upgrades aren’t automatic.  People need to place an order with their chosen provider to get connected and we’ll do the rest.  Our network offers the widest choice of providers such as Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, BT and Zen – which means that competition is high with great deals on offer.

“Even if you already have a decent enough service, it’s worth checking the fibre checker on our website to see if you can upgrade because Full Fibre is the technology of the future and provides the best broadband experience at great value for money.  There’ll be no more worrying that your video call will freeze, or your files will fail to upload when everyone’s at home competing for bandwidth.”

Openreach has announced plans to invest in Full Fibre for the majority of premises in 85 exchange areas across Essex as part of the Company’s plans to reach 25 million UK homes and businesses by the end of 2026.  This short video explains what Full Fibre technology is; you can find out more about Openreach’s Fibre First build programme here.

[1] Investment figure based on an average build cost of £300 per premise