Superfast Essex is part of the national Superfast Britain programme, which was established when the Government recognised that economic growth and social wellbeing in Britain were being held back by the lack of universally available broadband. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is leading the national programme through a team called Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). For more information, visit the 'About' page.
The Superfast Essex programme defines 'superfast' speeds as being able to achieve download speeds of 30Mbps and above, which is in line with the EU definition. This has come into effect from Superfast Essex's Phase 3 plans onwards. Prior to this, the contracts for Phases 1 and 2 measured 'superfast' speeds as being able to achieve download speeds of 24Mbps and above.
The Superfast Essex programme uses a five step process to maximise the use of public funding, to increase the level of superfast fibre broadband (capable of delivering download speeds of 30Mbps and above as per the EU definition) available to residents and businesses in the county. Read the full process here.
You may already be in an area of Essex that can connect straight away and can use our interactive map to find out. You can also check the BT Broadband Availability Checker to find out what cabinet you're connected to and what speeds you currently have access to via the Openreach network.
If fibre broadband is available you’ll need to contact a broadband provider of your choice to switch or upgrade your existing package. Click here to see a list of broadband service providers.
If you’re not currently able to get a superfast broadband service, the interactive map will tell you if the Superfast Essex programme has plans in your area.
If you find that there are currently no plans to deploy faster broadband in your area, then this is unfortunately due to the fact that the Superfast Essex programme is working with limited funding and cannot reach all parts of the county. You can register your demand for faster broadband - this helps us when planning future phases, should further funding become available.
No. The role of the Superfast Essex programme is to ensure that the telecommunications infrastructure in Essex is upgraded to enable private internet service providers to offer faster broadband services. Essex County Council is not a broadband service provider.
Once the deployment is complete, you can choose which provider you would like to buy your broadband service from.
Fibre broadband has been used in all phases of the programme’s rollout so far to deliver faster broadband speeds. Fibre broadband is much faster and more reliable than traditional broadband, known as ADSL, as it uses a different technology. Whilst ADSL is delivered via copper telephone lines, fibre broadband uses fibre optic cable. Fibre broadband will be delivered by the programme largely in two ways: fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) or fibre to the premises (FTTP).
- FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. It will provide the majority of business and residential premises with the capability of accessing broadband at speeds in excess of 30Mbps.
It is recognised that a small number of premises who are on what is known as ‘long lines’ from the cabinet will still not benefit from superfast broadband connectivity even when the cabinet is upgraded to fibre. Superfast Essex recognises that an alternative method is required in order to install superfast speeds. This often entails copper rearrangement and may involve a new cabinet being built, becoming connected to a different existing cabinet or Fibre to the Premises. We do not always know in the planning stages what type of connection Openreach will be using as it will depend on further surveys, detailed costs analysis and is subject to change.
- FTTP is not as common, and means fibre-optic cables run right to the door of each home or business. It can provide broadband speeds of over 100Mbps. FTTP is the technology used by Gigaclear to build a brand new network. It is also known as full fibre broadband.
Future phases of the programme will consider all technologies capable of providing superfast speeds of 30Mbps and above, not just fibre. Superfast Essex recognises the rurality of the remaining areas of market failure may require an alternative solution to enable superfast speeds. Alternative technologies include satellite, wireless and 4G. Find more information about other broadband options here.
If you believe the current download speed you are receiving isn’t good enough, you can take one or all of the steps below:
1. Check out Ofcom's connection tips, including doing a speed test using a third party speed checker website such as speedtest.btwholesale.com, www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk, https://broadbandtest.which.co.uk, https://www.broadbandspeedtest.org.uk or www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest.
2. Call your broadband service provider to find out if there is anything else they can do to help you, or to report a fault.
3. Visit our interactive rollout map to find out if you are in Superfast Essex's forthcoming plans.
4. Complete our Make the Connection survey to let us know of your demand for faster broadband.
5. If you are unable to find a broadband service provider who can offer you download speeds of more than 2Mbps then you may be eligible to apply for a basic satellite or wireless broadband service via our Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme.
The interactive map shows the contractual timescale for when the programme’s work will be completed by, which is December 2019 for Phases 2 and 3, March 2020 for Phase 3 in Tendring, and September 2020 for the Phase 4a contracts. Openreach will provide Superfast Essex with an earlier view of when work is planned to be completed by and the interactive map will be updated when this information is available. Gigaclear will provide indicative timescales for when work is due to be completed which is also shown on the interactive map when known.
Information regarding commercial deployments should be sought directly from the commercial operator.
We also post weekly ‘new live cabinet’ updates on our Live Cabinets List for the deployments, as well as our Superfast Essex social media channels, so please do follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to receive these and other programme updates.
A list of premises connected to FTTP deployments by Openreach as part of the Superfast Essex programme are updated quarterly at www.superfastessex.org/fttp.
Our list of funding partners are as follows:
With contributions from:
Once the map shows that your address has been upgraded to access fibre broadband (a pink dot denotes this), nobody is automatically connected to superfast broadband. It is now your responsibility to contact a broadband service provider and ask to take up a fibre broadband service with them. You can upgrade your existing service with your current provider, or switch to a different one. Use the BT DSL checker to find out which cabinet you are connected to and the speeds you should be able to achieve. Our list of providers may be useful in finding a service that suits you. You will usually be able to access superfast speeds (30Mbps or above). However, the speed you will be able to achieve depends on how far your address is from the existing street cabinet.
‘Commercial work’ refers to a broadband network operators’ deployment plans that are not happening in conjunction with the Superfast Essex programme.
Before Superfast Essex is able to connect properties in Essex to superfast broadband, the programme must identify the areas of market failure that are eligible for investment and able to be included in future plans. To do this, Superfast Essex will ask the commercial broadband market to supply us with information on what superfast broadband coverage already exists or is planned to be made available in the next three years. The programme conducted an Open Market Review (OMR) in July 2016, followed by public consultations in August 2017 and July 2018, as an opportunity to review and update the broadband data for planning the latest phases of work. During the OMR process and/or subsequent consultations, six commercial broadband network operators responded and made us aware of their coverage. These operators are listed on the Commercial Operators page.
Superfast Essex is working with two network operators, Openreach and Gigaclear, to deliver the current contracted phases of work in Essex. As part of the OMR and consultations, both Openreach and Gigaclear have also told us where they have existing or planned ‘commercial’ coverage, i.e., work that has happened or is happening outside of the work they are contracted to deliver as part of the Superfast Essex programme.
Under EU State Aid laws, Superfast Essex is legally unable to invest public funding where commercial superfast broadband coverage is already available or planned to be made available as defined under the OMR in 2016. This means, if a property is already able to access superfast broadband from one of the six network operators that responded to the OMR or consultations, Superfast Essex is unable to include them in the programme’s plans. Openreach or Gigaclear may choose to include properties in its plans commercially, i.e., it won’t be funded by the Superfast Essex programme. This is sometimes referred to as ‘overbuild’ or ‘infill’. Any questions regarding commercial work should be sent to the operator in question directly and not to the Superfast Essex team.
The CIF is a small grants scheme funded by Essex County Council, designed to fund community projects.
Money from the CIF has been set aside for this scheme to help community hubs pay for the set up costs of a Wi-Fi service. Up to £400 can be claimed per community hub. Community hubs will subsequently need to pay a monthly service charge for their Wi-Fi service.
More information on CIF and how to claim the funding if you have already applied for the Community Wi-Fi scheme can be found on the CIF website at www.essex.gov.uk/CIF.
The Community Wi-Fi Scheme was set up to enable local communities to provide a superfast public Wi-Fi service via their community hubs with support from the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF).
The aim is to encourage and support communities to make use of the upgraded infrastructure being installed by the Superfast Essex programme. The scheme is aimed at but not limited to community hubs enabled to access superfast broadband.
The scheme could help existing groups using community hubs to be better engaged online, or provide additional value to the venue for future prospective users looking for somewhere to hire.
What is a "Community Hub"?
A 'community hub' is a community facility such as a village hall, community centre, or parish hall, run as a charity or on a ‘not for profit’ basis, that is available to the public to use and hire in a particular area for community-related recreational activities. This excludes halls only available primarily for one exclusive use such as pre-schools, members clubs etc.