Our Hyperfast full-fibre broadband network has gone live in rural north Essex, offering some of the UK’s fastest speeds to thousands of residents and businesses that have suffered years of poor digital connectivity, Essex-based provider County Broadband has announced.
In a major boost to community spirit and the local economy, Eight Ash Green, Aldham and Dale Close in Stanway near Colchester are now connected to the gigabit-capable network and have leapt overnight into the UK’s top 10% for digital connectivity with speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps. This is a significant improvement on the 10Mbps to 50Mbps available to most households in the UK.
Villages gave the go-ahead to the rollout plans backed by millions of pounds of private funding last year. Government advice is that it views broadband as an essential utility and vital to the post COVID-19 economic recovery of the country. Accordingly, it has approved the continuation of new network construction during the COVID-19 crisis, giving the company’s telecoms engineers keyworker status.
This meant County Broadband was able to complete construction of its full-fibre network during the lockdown with its workforce following public health guidelines in place.
Lesley Scott-Boutell Local Councillor for Stanway, said: “I’m delighted that County Broadband addressed residents’ concerns about the outdated broadband in Dale Close and now have got Hyperfast broadband, especially in these unprecedented times when families have been in lockdown, this has been a lifeline for them.”
Residents can now download their favourite HD films in minutes, enjoy uninterrupted access to streaming and gaming services across multiple devices and work reliably from home without the slowdowns many other households face as people spend more time online during the lockdown.
It also means businesses can take advantage of video conferencing and cloud-sharing services which have become vital in the new working world and will help turbocharge growth and productivity in the post-coronavirus and post-Brexit economy.
Eight Ash Green resident Ben Wilkins, who has seen his broadband speeds rise from 9Mbps to around 400Mbps, said: “We had terribly slow speeds and drop-outs previously. My wife and I could not be on the internet at the same time. We were struggling with streaming and online gaming.
“But now I can play and communicate with my son via online gaming with this fast and reliable service without any issues at all. The speeds are amazing! The connection hasn’t dropped out once. It’s stress-free and we are able to work from home where necessary now.
“We received great customer service from County Broadband. We were always kept up-to-date on how the build was progressing. We are exceptionally happy with the service.”
The government has pledged that the entire UK should have access to gigabit capable speeds by 2025 to catch up with the rest of the world. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “infrastructure revolution” involves relying on local providers such as County Broadband to accelerate the rollouts.
The Hyperfast network provides speeds of up to 1,000mbps – 18 times faster than the UK average and even 10 times faster than existing copper-based superfast broadband that dates back to the Victorian period.
Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “We’re very excited to welcome Eight Ash Green, Aldham and Dale Close to our growing Hyperfast network and we hope residents and businesses reap the benefits of lightning-fast connectivity as we rely on the internet more than ever.
“The current lockdown has shone a spotlight on our outdated digital infrastructure. Our aim is to make rural Essex and the wider region digital flagbearers by meeting today’s demands of fast, uninterrupted connections whilst at the same time ensuring all rural and hard-to-reach premises are future-ready to cope with ever increasing data requirements.”
Hyperfast full-fibre broadband is delivered through fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks where fibre optic cables are connected directly into properties. In contrast, existing superfast fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) infrastructure relies on homes still being connected via copper cable connections from green cabinets. FTTC speeds halve every 600m and can be unreliable during peak times.
County Broadband’s networks are funded by a £46million private investment from Aviva Investors. The provider is also currently rolling out its service in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and aims to cover 20,000 premises in the East of England 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.