Superfast Essex is striving to close the remaining gaps in superfast broadband coverage across Essex. Read here about our plans for the future.
We recognise that all this work will still leave some areas without access to superfast broadband speeds and Essex County Council wants to ensure that these properties are also included in future plans where possible. We are now planning a further phase of work - Phase 4, announced in September 2017. Our ambition is to make superfast broadband available to nearly all homes and businesses by 2021, and we are exploring several options to secure sufficient funding to achieve this.
Thanks to substantial local investment contributions from Epping Forest, Basildon and Braintree councils we have already been able to progress the procurement of Phase 4a, which will significantly boost coverage in the above areas. We are currently in the process of finalising the related contracts and once these are signed in the course of July 2018, the additional coverage will be shown on our interactive map.
We now plan to progress our Phase 4b procurement to secure additional coverage for the remaining parts of Essex, once we have clarified what funding is available. Potential funding sources include any further contributions from local councils, some remaining project savings from Phases 1 and 2 and central government grants. We currently expect to begin procurement of Phase 4b in the autumn of 2018, with contracts awarded in spring 2019. Delivery timescales will be established as contracts are awarded and plans mobilised.
Superfast Essex is also working with commercial operators to encourage more private investment in broadband and in several areas within the county this is now happening. We are aware that sometimes the information we receive from commercial operators is subject to change as commercial deployment plans are altered and operators improve the quality of their own data.
In order to identify exactly which properties have no superfast connection available, or planned to be installed, and should be eligible for investment, the Superfast Essex programme has created a State Aid map, which shows the status of superfast broadband availability for each property in Essex as we currently know it.
The information displayed on this map was obtained from broadband network operators during an Open Market Review (OMR) held in 2016 and has been refined since then using further feedback from the public and network operators.
The map uses a classification as defined within the EU State Aid legislation in relation to superfast broadband, which in EU terms is described as Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband. The categories are:
Under the EU rules, Superfast Essex is only permitted to intervene with subsidised deployment in NGA White areas, where there is ‘market failure’, i.e. there is no superfast coverage available and no plans exist to deploy this within the next three years.
Please note that all properties planned for work under the Superfast Essex programme are shown as NGA Under Review (Yellow). They will be updated to show as NGA Grey once deployment is completed. It is possible that due to engineering reasons some properties planned under the current deployment may not actually achieve superfast speeds when the plans are fully implemented. In such cases these properties would then revert to NGA White classification and become eligible for future investment.
We previously updated our State Aid map in October 2017 ahead of the Phase 4a procurement. As we are now getting ready to launch a procurement for Phase 4b and will use the finalised Phase 4 State Aid map to define the areas to be targeted, we want to ensure that our information is correct. We are therefore giving all interested stakeholders the opportunity to review our proposed final State Aid map for Phase 4 and contact us if they have any comments or proposed updates that should be reflected on the map.
Anyone wishing to submit a comment should do so later than noon on the 6th August 2018 using this comments form. Please follow the instructions as described on the form.
To read the Superfast Essex Phase 4 State Aid Public Consultation Final Update Report and associated documentation, click on the links below:
If you would like to check the current State Aid status for an individual property, please refer to our interactive State Aid map.