The county’s broadband improvement programme was highlighted at an East of England Local Government Association Conference as a project which will play a large part in enabling the county to transform the way it serves the public.
The conference addressed the pivotal role of technology in helping to create faster, more responsive, cost-effective 21st century public services – at a time when public sector budgets are continually under increasing pressure.
Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Infrastructure and Waste & Recycling, spoke about the importance of ‘Getting the infrastructure right’.
Cllr Bentley said: “It is a known fact that councils need to be able to do more with less, so we need to do things differently and one of the ways we can do this is to become more digital.
“At Essex County Council we are already moving in this direction but there is still so much more we want to do. Rolling out superfast broadband will provide us with the opportunity to fully explore the digital capabilities of all the services we offer to our residents – to save time, money, and maintain the high quality standard of service.”
The Superfast Essex programme has so far enabled 20,000 homes and businesses across the county to access superfast broadband and the potential to do even more online – and at a faster rate.
Work has largely involved the upgrade of existing broadband infrastructure to fibre, and the first phase of deployment is about one quarter complete.
Leading by example, improved superfast broadband access has already enabled 10% more Essex County Council staff – 900 of the County Council’s workforce – to be more mobile and flexible and work from a variety of locations across the county as an alternative to the office, enabling better use of council resources. The organisation is now exploring how better broadband connectivity can help enhance other services including health, social care, and libraries.
To find out if your area is due for a broadband upgrade visit, www.superfastessex.org/postcode. To register your demand for superfast broadband, visit www.superfastessex.org/getinvolved.