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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.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

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

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.

Comment: Reaction to the Queen’s Speech, December 2019

County Broadband reacts to the Queen’s Speech, December 2019.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “We welcome the government’s renewed commitment laid out in the Queen’s Speech to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to every premises across the UK, including hard-to-reach areas.

“We are uniquely positioned to roll out future-ready Hyperfast connections to thousands of people across communities in rural East Anglia, where the need for homes and businesses to have reliable full-fibre broadband is essential to access services for education, health services and entertainment. This is even more vital as the government starts the process of leaving the EU and will be essential to help position UK plc to be able to compete on a global scale.

“We are looking forward to the release of the full strategic review due in February and working closely with residents, key stakeholders and the digital minister to help make our region one of the first to have access to full-fibre connectivity in the UK.”

All I want for Christmas is Netflix – why streaming is our beloved new festive tradition

British traditions come alive at Christmas like no other time: the madcap shopping and wrapping of presents; the garish jumpers and hats; the awful jokes; dad falling asleep to The Snowman; Brussels sprouts and left-over turkey sandwiches; the Queen’s Speech; never-ending charades and chocolate; dad waking up during the evening film and looking confused.

Just like the unexpected extra relatives crowding round the dinner table, there’s always room for more traditions – with digital streaming now entering our homes and hearts on the big day and festive season.

In 2019, Netflix is striking the right notes with its A Christmas Prince cheesy trilogy, Amazon Prime has some old classics (It’s A Wonderful Life; White Christmas), while Disney Plus is keeping the children entertained with Home Alone and The Muppet Christmas Carol. A streaming feast for the whole family.

A UK breakdown is not available but to provide context, last year’s UK Christmas Day TV ratings battle was won by Michael McIntyre’s festive special, watched by 6.1 million on BBC One. To put that in perspective, Only Fools and Horses and EastEnders attracted over 20 million in their pomp, while other Christmas Day 2018 big hitters (Strictly, Call the Midwife) were down by millions on 2017 – itself down 7% on 2016’s Christmas period overall.

Like a badly cooked turkey, these figures must be difficult to digest for TV bosses, as viewers flock to Netflix and their rivals for their annual dose of Christmas telly.

We’ve argued before how on-demand streaming services are turning traditional television into the Ghost of Christmas Past. But while Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Apple TV+ and others pose a danger to TV broadcasters, and perhaps less so cinema, they have quietly, quickly, without fuss – and even warmly – been welcomed into our precious Christmas itineraries and tinsel-coated living rooms. Provided you have a reliable connection, it’s the ease of a few buttons at the end of a long day to indulge in your favourite film or TV box set. Gone are the days of hunting, and fiddling, with DVDs and Blu-rays.

Here to stay is the cultural shift, because our data demands show no sign of abating. In its Communications Market Report 2019*, Ofcom found that average data consumption per fixed-line connection (your typical home or business broadband connection) increased by 26% to 240GB per month in 2018 – the equivalent of 80 hours of HD streaming on Netflix per month.

And it’s the original content we’re after too. Those troubling TV audience stats may point to a growing sense of frustration of tired annual repeats as much as the lure of instant streaming.

The streaming revolution is also, importantly, catering for children, who were originally assigned centre stage billing at this time of the year by Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol in the mid-19th century as Victorian Britain converted the festive season into a commercial enterprise for the first time (Christmas crackers; turkeys sent on long marches from East Anglia to London). Netflix has its ‘kids section’ while Disney Plus has an obviously large catalogue of childhood classics – interestingly reclaimed from Netflix’s archives.

These combined forces give rise to the obvious argument of the immediate installation of future-ready Hyperfast full fibre broadband. After the fun and games have ended and the children are kept entertained on their devices, and after the Google Home or Alexa assistants have pumped out their last Christmas songs of the day, the parents and grandparents will need enough bandwidth and capacity to stream their long-awaited festive films.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

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


Comment: Reaction to the General Election result, December 2019

County Broadband reacts to the General Election result, December 2019.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “The re-elected Prime Minister has already made digital infrastructure a notable investment pledge in his victory speech following his campaign commitment to the rollout of gigabit broadband connectivity. We look forward to working with the digital minister in support of his promise to connect the entire UK, including rural and hard-to-reach areas, to future-ready networks.

“County Broadband has big plans to connect thousands of rural communities to our Hyperfast future-ready networks in 2020 across the East of England, making the region a flagbearer for world class digital connectivity.”

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.

Comment: Reaction to Labour Party’s free broadband pledge

Statement: Reaction to Labour Party’s free broadband pledge

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, which is rolling out full fibre networks across rural East Anglia, said: “The announcement highlights the importance of full fibre access for all. However, it also shows an alarming lack of understanding about the complex nature of full fibre rollouts and the fact that, unlike by comparison the rail industry that operates rail franchises, the industry has already invested billions of pounds in building its own infrastructure over which the service is delivered, in direct competition to BT.

“This proposal would almost certainly lead to delays or at worst derailment of existing full fibre investment and new network roll-outs. It is broadbrush, and makes no mention of how customers would be served and supported, and provides no recognition for what has been achieved by the many Alternative Network providers (AltNets) who are currently active in providing a competitive full fibre solution.

“The competitive nature of the current market in the UK has meant consumers already benefit from one of the lowest cost broadband services in Europe. Broadband is an essential utility and whilst we share the ambition to bring future-ready full fibre connectivity to every home and business, we believe a mix of public and private investment is the only realistic strategy to deliver the service efficiently, without the need to bring significant cost to the public purse.”

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.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

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.

Full fibre broadband plans stepped up in Diss and Thetford villages

More public meetings have been announced in Diss and Thetford villages earmarked for full fibre broadband which would give thousands of homes and businesses some of the fastest speeds in the UK.

Rural internet specialists County Broadband has already held meetings with residents and community leaders in 21 villages to discuss the unique rollout plans and help secure the 30% sign-up rate needed to trigger the construction of new gigabit-capable broadband networks.

The new infrastructure would provide hyperfast speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps – 20 times faster than the UK average and 10 times faster than copper-based superfast broadband, giving the local economy a huge boost and allowing residents to download HD films in minutes and enjoy uninterrupted speeds across multiple devices simultaneously.

County Broadband’s community team have also been busy in the villages, supporting local charity fundraising events such as pub quizzes and engaging with residents and businesses.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, based in East Anglia, said: “We’d like to thank the villages for welcoming us into their communities as we step up our engagement by inviting local residents and businesses to attend our next wave of public meetings and events over the coming weeks.

“Our community ambassadors will provide important updates on the rollout plans and answer more questions people might have about connecting to our future-ready lightning-fast network which is rapidly expanding in other parts of the region.”

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

More than 35 villages have given the green light to join County Broadband’s network, backed by a £46 million private investment, in rural Essex in recent months.

Community halls and schools have already been promised free connections to the network in areas which give the green light in Norfolk.

Mr Felton added: “Thousands of residents and businesses will soon benefit from gigabit-capable speeds in rural Essex and we strongly urge their regional neighbours in south Norfolk to follow suit and reap the same benefits of being connected to some of the fastest and most reliable download and upload speeds in the UK.

“This is a golden chance for rural Norfolk to become flagbearers for world-class digital connectivity in the region and unlock all the potential of hyperfast full fibre broadband, but it can only happen with the support of local communities which drive forward this ambition.”

The government has pledged that the entire UK should have access to gigabit capable broadband by 2025 to catch up with the rest of the world, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson making full fibre broadband a flagship policy.

Residents and businesses in the Diss and Thetford villages are asked to look out for information being provided locally to find out more details about the upcoming public events.

The rollout is funded by a private investment from Aviva Investors and is not dependent upon public money.

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.

35 villages are on their way to getting future-ready fibre

This is all a part of our mission to bring Hyperfast, future-ready fibre broadband to rural villages across East Anglia.

Main build works are the main construction of our fibre network and involve installing fibre cables in your street or through overhead poles to be able to bring a future-ready connection directly to your door. We are forecasting that these works will take around 10 weeks to complete, and once these works are complete we can then start the connection process.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

These are when we anticipate main build works to start in these villages.

Main builds starting this month (October):

• Aldham;
• Belchamp Walter;
• Bures Hamlet;
• Great Yeldham;
• Pebmarsh;
• Stambourne;
• Steeple Bumstead;
• Toppesfield;
• High Easter;
• Ford End;
• Willows Green.

Main builds starting in November:

• Belchamp St. Paul;
• Bulmer;
• Castle Hedingham;
• Chappel;
• Wakes Colne;
• Wickham St. Paul.

Main builds starting in December:

• Alphamstone;
• Belchamp Otten;
• Lamarsh;
• Little Yeldham;
• Mount Bures;
• Tilbury Juxta Clare.

Main builds starting in January:

• Fordham;
• Gestingthorpe;
• Great Maplestead.

We are currently carrying out main build works in Foxearth and Pentlow, Eight Ash Green and Dale Close.
As well as all of this, we are planning to start pre-build works at the end of this month (October) in:

• Beaumont;
• Bradfield;
• Great Bromley;
• Little Bentley;
• Tendring;
• Wix.

These pre-build works will involve clearing some of the existing duct infrastructure in preparation to lay our fibre cables and carrying out other minor civil engineering activities.

So, between now and January we will be building (pre-build and main build) in 35 villages, making them one step closer to getting Hyperfast fibre broadband.

Our free connection offer (worth £225) is still open in all these villages UNTIL main build works are complete. After that, when you NEED to access Hyperfast broadband in the future, you will need to PAY to get connected!

If you live in one of these villages and would like to access Hyperfast, future-ready fibre in your home, pre-order a connection by visiting and entering your postcode or call the County Broadband Hyperfast services team on 01376 562002.