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County Broadband passes 10,000 customer milestone

A key milestone in bringing UK-leading internet speeds to rural parts of East Anglia is being celebrated after 10,000 homes and businesses across Essex and Norfolk pledged to have full-fibre broadband installed in their village, Hyperfast broadband provider County Broadband has announced.

Residents and business owners in 130 villages in the Colchester, Braintree and Chelmsford areas of Essex, as well as 18 villages in the Diss and Thetford areas of Norfolk, are set to join the UK’s top 8% for digital connectivity with future-ready speeds of up to 1 Gigabit (1,000 Mbps). Currently, the average UK rural speed is just 28 Mbps*.

However, the Hyperfast full-fibre networks will only be built in each village if at least 30% of the local community agrees to take up the service. Schools and community halls are also being offered free connections.

Work is already under way to connect over 50 Essex villages to County Broadband’s Hyperfast full-fibre network, with Eight Ash Green, Dale Close and Stanway near Colchester expected to be connected in January.

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Matthew Allum, landlord at The Cricketers pub in Eight Ash Green (left below), toasted the news: “Reliable internet connectivity is no longer seen as just a luxury as more of our customers expect to be able to get online when they visit our pub. This new full-fibre network is an exciting opportunity for us and means we can provide more services to the community, such as streaming sporting events, and ensures we can take advantage of new technologies over the coming years.”

Richard Hartley, from Carleton Rode near Attleborough in Norfolk (right), pledged to have the service installed after struggling with slow internet speeds: “Carleton Rode, like many areas in Norfolk, has historically been left behind when it comes to broadband and I hope our community can join together to secure this amazing new service so we can all benefit from it.”

County Broadband’s new networks are funded by a £46million private investment from Aviva Investors and the firm aims to provide connection access to 30,000 premises across the East of England by the end of 2020.

James Salmon, head of sales at County Broadband, said: “We’ve very excited to reach this important milestone and it’s clear there is a huge appetite for Hyperfast broadband speeds in rural Essex and across the region. We live in an increasingly data hungry world of ultra-high definition streaming and online services but current superfast connections have been a sticky-plaster solution.

“The newly elected government is pushing for all of us to have access to gigabit capable speeds and we share this ambition. We believe our new hyperfast full-fibre networks will have a significant impact on not just local residents but businesses, communities and the wider economy.”

*Ofcom, UK Home Broadband Performance report, May 2019

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Providing a different kind of fibre this Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, however for some people this is not the case and the strains of making ends meet at this time of year can prove very stressful to those most in need. This is why local food banks are a lifeline for some people and used all year round, however Christmas proves to be their busiest time of year.

That is why we have partnered with Colchester Foodbank to offer people a different kind of fibre this Christmas, launching a Christmas fundraising campaign to fund vital food supplies for the local charity.

In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children*. Colchester Foodbank’s aim is to end hunger and poverty in the UK and at Christmas time they need our help more than ever.

Colchester Foodbank has helped 7,000 people in crisis last year by providing three-day, nutritionally balanced emergency food parcels to those who have been referred to in a crisis in local villages around Colchester.

To support the food bank, we teamed up with our suppliers to raise over £1,000 for the charity. This will either go towards the day-to-day running of the food bank, or a new building for them to use.

As well as this, we held a food collection where staff were incredibly generous and donated three large boxes of food, like tinned fruit, toiletries and Christmas treats to help people in need during the festive season.

Three employees also donated their time to help with packing emergency parcels for those most in need this Christmas.

The campaign was the idea of County Broadband communications executive Annabelle Gardiner, who said: “This is something I am very passionate about as the festive season can be a very difficult time for vulnerable people in our society.

“County Broadband is passionate about helping communities in any way they can, so partnering with Colchester Foodbank allows them to help people in crisis this Christmas.

“Thanks to the generosity of our staff, we were able to make a positive impact in the community, but to make an even bigger impact, we partnered with our suppliers and have donated £1,090 to the food bank.

“Myself, County Broadband and our suppliers all share the same passion for helping our communities, and by working together we are able help alleviate people’s worries and stress and make their lives a little easier this Christmas.”

The support has been welcomed by Colchester Foodbank which is facing increased pressure and demand this year to help all those in need.

*Full Fact, September 2019

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Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

County Broadband raises over £1,000 and donates vital food parcels to Colchester Foodbank

County Broadband has raised over £1,000 and donated three large boxes to Colchester Foodbank to help vulnerable people across Essex this Christmas.

The local firm partnered with their own suppliers in support of the foodbank to raise funds through voluntary donations and internal food collections where staff contributed items including tinned fruit, toiletries and festive treats.

Employees also visited Colchester Foodbank and spent the afternoon packing emergency food parcels to be sent to the most vulnerable for use over the Christmas period.

There are currently more than 14 million people living in poverty across the UK* and in Colchester it is estimated nearly a third of all children are in poverty**.

The support has been welcomed by Colchester Foodbank which is facing increased pressure and demand this year to help all those in need.

Anne Barney, volunteer at Colchester Foodbank, said: “Whilst Christmas is meant to be a time of joy and celebration, for many people across Colchester and Essex it is real struggle. We are very grateful to the team at County Broadband for their support at this busy time of year.

“Vital funds to maintain the foodbank and donations of food provide are a real lifeline to those most in need and is only possible through the generous support of the wider community.”

Colchester Foodbank has helped over 7,000 people in crisis so far this year by providing three-day, nutritionally balanced emergency food parcels to those who have been referred.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “Communities are always at the heart of what we do which is why it’s so important for us to help them in any way we can. The support that the dedicated team at Colchester Foodbank offers is essential and we are proud to be supporting them to help those in crisis during the festive season and beyond.

“I would like to say a big thank you to our suppliers who donated to our Christmas campaign. This is a great example of what a big difference we can make by working together.”

*Full Fact, September 2019
**End Child Poverty, 2019

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Hyperfast five-fold business growth for County Broadband

We are pleased to announce that we’re set to achieve a five-fold increase in our workforce this year and have ambitious plans to become a “major player” in the UK’s growing technology sector.

Despite political and economic uncertainty over Brexit, County Broadband has continued to invest and has seen its workforce soar from 16 to 60 since the start of 2019 with bosses confident of becoming a 79-strong team by the end of December.

New roles in technology, finance and community engagement have been created as part of the business expansion.

It follows a £46million private investment from Aviva Investors in 2018 to support the firm’s rollout of hyperfast full fibre broadband to rural areas in East Anglia.

Over 50 villages have already given the go-ahead to have new future-ready Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks installed to benefit from world-class speeds of up to 1,000Mbps in the region – 20 times faster than the UK average.

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Lewis Simington, Human Resources Manager, who joined County Broadband earlier this year, described the firm’s growth as “exponential”, saying: “It’s fantastic to be part of a rapidly-expanding team and compared to even six months ago, we’re unrecognisable.

“With the current economic uncertainty, it’s reassuring and a huge boost to the local economy to be part of firm on an exciting growth journey, delivering an important new service to local communities.

“We have just launched a seven-year business plan and 2020 will be the year when we really start coming into our own.

“I think the ambition is to become a major player, both in the region and in the national technology sector – flying the flag for Essex and the East of England. We are realistic about where we are now but we do have big plans for the future.”

Some 25 vacancies were advertised by the firm at the start of October. Young apprentices and engineering technicians from Colchester and the wider region have been among the new recruits and placed on training schemes.

“Local talent is key for us,” Lewis added. “This is essential when you’re looking to move into areas such as Norfolk and Cambridgeshire as you need people who appreciate what we’re trying to do within local communities and have that connection with them.”

David Burch, Director of Policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “Having access to an efficient and fast broadband network is an absolute essential for success today and we congratulate County Broadband for the work they are doing to ensure that businesses across the East of England, and especially in Essex, will be able get just that.

“The key to their success is their willingness to work with local communities to identify needs and deliver them.”

County Broadband aims to provide connection access to around 40,000 premises by the end of 2020.

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.