Rural schools and community halls in Essex and Norfolk will be offered free next-generation full fibre broadband in villages which approve unique rollout plans, local internet service provider County Broadband has announced.
More than 30 villages in the Colchester, Chelmsford and Braintree areas of Essex have already given the go-ahead to have new hyperfast gigabit-capable networks installed to receive some of the UK’s quickest internet speeds – up to 1,000 Mbps which is 20 times faster than the national average and 10 times faster than copper-based superfast.
Thousands of homes and businesses in over 20 villages in the Thetford and Diss areas in Norfolk have also already been urged to seize the chance to connect to the network, partly funded by a £46 million private investment.
County Broadband has today announced that schools and community halls will be offered a free connection and service if the village signs up. At least 30% of residents and businesses are required to pre-order to give the green light to construct the network.
With full fibre speeds, schools could take advantage of the latest technology for use in the classroom whilst village halls could provide video-conferencing and transform public events, community groups and the services they offer such as computer support workshops. It would also provide a boost for centres which run films nights or showcase live sporting events as it would mean content could be streamed reliability and at the highest HD or 4K quality.
Braintree District councillor Peter Schwier welcomed the news: “People consider schools and village halls as the heart of rural communities. Having lightning fast broadband speeds will provide a real boost to the local residents and open up new opportunities.”
Full fibre broadband provides lightning-fast speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) through FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) networks in which fibre optic cables are connected directly into properties and offices – even in difficult-to-reach areas. HD films can be downloaded in minutes and albums in seconds.
Such speeds are even 10 times faster than superfast broadband which in contrast relies on FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) infrastructure which, even though is promoted as fibre, uses copper elements dating back to the Victorian period to deliver the internet from green roadside cabinets to properties. Speeds halve approximately every 600 metres and connections can be unreliable in peak times.
Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband based in Aldham said: “We know schools and village halls are the lifeblood for rural areas which the local community relies on. That’s why we’re today announcing our exciting offer of equipping them with lightning-fast broadband which would put them in the top 8% for digital connectivity in the UK and get them future-ready to take full advantage of new data-hungry technologies.”
The government pledged last year that the entire UK should have access to full fibre by 2033 to catch up with the rest of the world. New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made full fibre broadband a flagship policy in his premiership – and wants everyone connected by 2025.
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.