High speed, reliable broadband connectivity will soon be an essential utility – just like electricity and water. The government knows that we are all going to need faster and faster broadband speeds which is why they have stated that the whole country should have access to full fibre by 2033.
There are a number of public sector initiatives to help secure improved digital connectivity but they are primarily focussed upon upgrading existing, out-dated copper wire infrastructure which is not able to reach future-ready, hyperfast speeds and are dependent on public funding.
County Broadband – a broadband provider specialising in rural areas in the East of England – is one of a number of companies across the UK able to construct all-new, future-ready full fibre networks at no cost to the public purse. A key issue is, however, the need for greater public information and support from local authorities about the need for hyperfast speeds.
Rural areas are lagging behind in terms of broadband speed and reliability. With infrequent public transport, closure of post offices and banks in rural areas together with a desire to minimise unnecessary journeys, residents are arguably more dependent upon online services than their urban counterparts. Businesses will also be unable to thrive in rural areas without fast, future-ready internet access.
A recent survey* undertaken by County Broadband of over 2,000 rural homes in England shows that the majority of residents are not only frustrated with their broadband but also completely unaware that it will not provide a future-proof solution. Whilst hyperfast uses fibre directly to a property, superfast relies on existing, outdated copper cables to deliver fibre from local cabinets – reducing speed and reliability.
The survey showed that almost two thirds (60%) of consumers living in rural areas don’t understand the difference between superfast and hyperfast broadband. In addition, over half (57%) of those questioned said they were frustrated with their internet citing poor performance and unreliable speeds with 16% struggling on a daily basis.
Braintree District Councillor Peter Schwier is a strong advocate for the roll-out of full fibre networks and explains the importance to rural communities. He says: “I am delighted that County Broadband is rolling out full fibre broadband to the vitally important rural areas of Braintree District.
“This new network is an ambitious schedule to full fibre-enable rural properties, dramatically improving speed, bandwidth and quality. It is not only needed today but future-proofs our rural communities and businesses and will enable everyone to enjoy the choice and benefits of unlimited, hyperfast broadband.”
Peter Schwier continues: “Full fibre broadband will drive productivity in community level economies – both in terms of attracting future generations and commercial prosperity. Shopping, healthcare, education, banking and public services are now accessed online as well as entertainment and all require reliable, fast connectivity. Similarly, businesses and homeworkers need faster and faster broadband speeds.”
County Broadband’s high-tech ‘Fibre-To-The-Premises’ (FTTP) gigabit-capable networks deliver ultrafast and hyperfast internet speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) directly into some of the most difficult-to-reach homes and businesses – at more than 20 times faster than the UK average.
Focussed upon East Anglia, the Company’s strategy is to service more than 30,000 homes and businesses in the region. The roll-out programme is funded by access to a £46million private investment and is not dependent upon public money or any financial contributions from home or business owners.
NFU East Anglia Environment Adviser Rob Wise said: “Access to reliable broadband continues to be a major problem in rural areas. Government figures show that 7% of premises in rural areas were not able to access decent broadband services and speeds, compared with just 1% in urban areas, and the situation is much worse in rural hamlets and for isolated dwellings where 35% are unable to access a decent connection.
“The NFU’s 2018 survey revealed that 42% of responding members still have a connection speed of less than 2Mbps. We must embrace every opportunity to increase the roll-out of fibre connections in the countryside, both via the public and private sectors, and especially where the two can work together.”
County Broadband is encouraging local authorities in the East of England to find out more about the opportunities for full fibre broadband in their region. As part of the roll-out programme, the Company is hosting a series of village meetings.
“We are encouraging everyone to find out more about the opportunities for full fibre broadband,” says Lloyd Felton, CEO at County Broadband. “Our events provide an opportunity to meet the County Broadband team and hear about the new network. Local government representatives are encouraged to participate to understand the opportunities available through privately funded full fibre broadband networks.”
Lloyd Felton continues: “Our goal is to provide a world-class, future proof infrastructure which will deliver ultrafast and hyperfast broadband speeds of 1,000Mbps now and even faster speeds in future as well as providing additional services such as telephony, home security and access to the vital services that the local authorities and health services plan for online access in the coming years.”
Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.
County Broadband, which also provides superfast wireless internet, was established in Aldham, Essex, in 2003, and currently has over 3,000 customers across East Anglia. The company aims to reach 50,000 premises in the East of England by the end of 2020.