Gigaclear rollout

The Superfast Essex programme is currently being delivered in several phases by two operators, one of these is Gigaclear Plc. The overall programme is set to enable 149,400 premises to access superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps and above by March 2020.

In June 2015 Essex County Council signed a contract with rural ‘ultrafast’ fibre broadband network operator Gigaclear Plc for the delivery of the Rural Challenge Project in the east of Epping Forest District. Essex County Council has since signed two further contracts with this full fibre operator to extend their completely new network in some other parts of Essex under Phase 3. The technology rolled out by Gigaclear is 100% Fibre-to-the-Premises meaning fibre runs directly to each property providing speeds of 50Mbps up to 1000Mbps (1Gbps). The Gigaclear network is an entirely new fibre network being built underground to protect it from the elements with no poles or wires or masts. Work is currently planned through to December 2019.

All work carried out by Gigaclear under the Superfast Essex programme is funded by Essex County Council, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) - the team within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for the Government's national Superfast Britain programme, and a contribution from Gigaclear. Funding contributions have also been received from some other local councils towards particular phases of work.

To view a list of all the cabinet areas upgraded to access Gigaclear's full fibre network under the Superfast Essex programme, visit our Gigaclear cabinets page. A breakdown of the phases of work being carried out by Gigaclear is below.

Once the Gigaclear network has been built in your area, nobody is automatically connected to ultrafast broadband. You need to contact a service provider and ask to switch to or buy a fibre service on the Gigaclear network. A list of service providers available on this network can be found here.

PHASE 2b - The Rural Challenge Project

Phase 2 of the Superfast Essex programme has two strands to it - 'Phase 2a' being delivered by Openreach and 'Phase 2b, The Rural Challenge Project' being delivered by Gigaclear.

The Rural Challenge Project was introduced in 2015 to test alternative ways of bringing superfast connectivity to rural communities and businesses. The pilot area chosen for the Rural Challenge Project covers 4,000 properties in the east of Epping Forest District. Work began in November 2015, and the first customers were enabled by Christmas the same year. Most of the work is now complete, and all remaining properties will be live on the network by the 31st March 2018, if not sooner.

Homes and businesses within the intervention area in the following five parishes (nine locations) will be able to access ultrafast broadband speeds: Fyfield, Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Lavers (Magdalen Laver, High Laver, Little Laver), Ongar, Stapleford Tawney and Theydon Mount.

Some homes and businesses in the following 13 parishes will also benefit: High Ongar, Willingale, Abbess Beauchamp and Berners Roding, Stapleford Abbotts, Stanford Rivers, Matching, North Weald Bassett, Lambourne, Theydon Garnon, Sheering, Epping Upland, Theydon Bois and Chigwell.

Phase 2b will help contribute to Superfast Essex's aim to reach 95% of Essex homes with superfast broadband.

REACH: 4,000

INVESTMENT: £7.5million (including a contribution from Epping Forest District Council)

PHASE 3 - Uttlesford and Central North

This is the next phase of work which was confirmed with new contracts signed in June 2017. Work is due to start later in 2017 and complete within the same timeframe as Phase 2a (being delivered by Openreach), by December 2019. Phase 3 will aim to increase the overall superfast footprint in Essex to 97%.

Phase 3 is not solely being delivered by Gigaclear. The rollout has been split into three areas known as 'Lots'. Two of these are being delivered by Gigaclear. You can read about the other Lot planned under Phase 3 on the Openreach rollout page.

In the Uttlesford Lot Gigaclear plan to extend their ultrafast network to a further 4,600 homes and businesses in Uttlesford District. Gigaclear's other Lot will upgrade an additional 3,700 homes and businesses across the Central North of the county. The Central North Lot includes parts of Braintree District, Colchester Borough and Chelmsford City.

REACH: 4,600 + 3,700 = 8,300

INVESTMENT: £12.9million (including a contribution from Uttlesford District Council)

TOTAL REACH (Phase 2b, 3-Uttlesford, 3-Central North): 12,300

TOTAL INVESTMENT (Phase 2b, 3-Uttlesford, 3-Central North): £20.4million

To find out more and register for direct updates from Gigaclear visit

OVERALL PROGRAMME SUMMARY (including Openreach rollout)

OVERALL PROGRAMME REACH (Phase 1, 2a, 2b, 3-Uttlesford, 3-Central North, 3-South East, 3-Tendring): 149,400

OVERALL PROGRAMME INVESTMENT (Phase 1, 2a, 2b, 3-Uttlesford, 3-Central North, 3-South East, 3-Tendring): £80million