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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.

County Broadband receives £46million investment to supercharge rural ultrafast broadband

Following a £46m investment from Aviva Investors, County Broadband is commencing the roll out of its ultrafast full fibre broadband network across villages in the East of England, providing a major boost to under-served rural communities and businesses.

Many rural communities still suffer from so-called ‘broadband black spots’ due to old copper-wire infrastructures dating back to Victorian times. Research* also shows two thirds of customers who have existing so called ‘fibre services’ are not full fibre at all, but arrive to their home through standard copper telephone lines – significantly affecting speeds, reliability and the ability to upgrade to meet future requirements.

In contrast, County Broadband’s high-tech ‘Fibre-To-The-Premises’ (FTTP) network delivers ultrafast 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.

The construction of this entirely new network is supported by a commitment from Aviva Investors which means the company’s expansion is not dependent upon public funds or from any financial contributions from home or business owners.

Lloyd Felton, CEO at County Broadband, said the investment will help support economic growth throughout East Anglia and improve residents’ quality of life.

“Since securing the investment, we have been identifying target areas,” he said. “Many premises might have access to broadband, but the ultrafast speeds that we will all soon need are only available to around 6% of the UK. Household usage and data consumption is already predicted to increase 10-fold every six years and only ultrafast solutions will match this requirement.”

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Based in Aldham, Essex, County Broadband is an established internet service provider in East Anglia. The company is doubling its workforce over the next few months and is in the process of securing work for many local contractors. The company has already deployed a successful all-fibre Gigabit network in Broughton, Cambridgeshire, and already supports over 3,000 homes and businesses with its wireless-based broadband services in the region.

“Our goal is to provide a world-class, future proof infrastructure which will deliver ultrafast 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.” Mr Felton said. “Aviva Investors’ recognise the vital need for future proof fibre infrastructure and their funding supports our strategy to service more than 30,000 homes and businesses in the region.”

As part of the roll-out programme, County Broadband is hosting a series of villages meetings. These events provide an opportunity to meet the County Broadband team and find out more about the new network.

Amid growing numbers of services being delivered online, industry experts are highlighting the need for ultrafast broadband speeds to allow for quicker downloads and uninterrupted streaming and eliminating problems when family members simultaneously use the internet.

Ultrafast broadband speeds are also necessary for seamless access to services such as online radio, video on-demand and catch-up TV at the same time, while fibre’s faster upload speeds are more convenient when sharing photos online or making video calls.

Many businesses will also need the ultrafast broadband Fibre provides to benefit from evolving business applications.

County Broadband are offering residents and businesses a free connection** by pre-ordering their ultrafast broadband.