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Coronavirus: County Broadband responds to UK government’s announcement of new restrictions

Following the UK government announcement (23/03) of further restrictions in response to Coronavirus, Lloyd Felton, chief executive of Essex based Internet Service Provider County Broadband, issued the following statement:

“The past few weeks have proved very disruptive for everyone with the COVID-19 health pandemic temporarily restructuring our way of life in rapid and profound ways. What has become very clear is that the internet has become the fourth utility, essential to employees remote working, children remote learning, providing entertainment and for staying in virtual touch with family and friends – especially for those in more remote rural communities.

“We are therefore today converting any packages with data caps to unlimited data packages and putting on hold inflation linked price increases that were previously planned to align our packages to the market as a whole. We hope this announcement will provide much needed help for our customers during this uncertain and challenging time. Our customer services team will also be providing additional support to those who need it.

“COVID-19 has served to shine a spotlight on the urgent need for the UK to upgrade its digital infrastructure and we are proud to be doing our bit with the rollout of full-fibre broadband to replace outdated, existing copper based networks.

“With approximately double the normal traffic through our network and streaming service providers Netflix and Disney+ both announcing they are reducing video quality due to the unprecedented increase in downloads congesting networks across the country, questions are understandably being asked about how prepared as a whole the UK’s digital infrastructure is for the surge in data demand.

“It should be clear to everyone by now that Boris Johnson’s infrastructure revolution, being accelerated by the likes of us, will be our sword and shield in such challenging times.

“Aligned to the very latest government and public health advice, we can confirm, as a recognised frontline service and following ongoing discussions with our contractors, that we will be continuing with the rollout of our Hyperfast full-fibre broadband to rural communities across East Anglia.

“We will continue to review and update residents and businesses as further Government announcements are made.”

For the latest information, please visit: https://www.countybroadband.co.uk/covid19-statement/.

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Budget reaction: County Broadband comments on £5bn for rural broadband

Following the Chancellor’s announcement of a £5bn boost to support upgrading rural digital connectivity, Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, commented: “We welcome the news that the government’s plan to bring gigabit capable broadband to every home and business in Britain by 2025 has taken another step forward today.

“County Broadband is one of many Independent Network Providers already committed to building and delivering fibre-to-the-property (FTTP) networks across the East of England, backed by a combined private investment commitment that is already in excess of £1.5 billion.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

“The Chancellor’s announcement that the sector is to receive a £5bn boost to support upgrading rural digital connectivity, together with the industry news that more private investment in the sector is planned this year, means Independent Networks will have a central part to play in enabling tens of thousands of premises to receive future-ready, full-fibre connections.

“Upgrading the UK’s underlying outdated digital infrastructure is essential to unlock the country’s economic growth potential and will enable households, businesses and communities to move out of the digital slow lane and compete with the rest of the world post-Brexit.”

Specialist Hyperfast broadband provider County Broadband, based near Colchester in Essex, is building future-ready full-fibre networks in rural areas across East Anglia following a £46million investment from Aviva Investors. It is on schedule to offer 20,000 homes and business gigabit capable full fibre broadband connectivity by the end of this year.

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Full-fibre broadband on its way to 14 villages near Diss and Thetford – with many more urged not to miss out

County Broadband, a specialist rural full-fibre network and broadband provider, has announced 14 villages near Diss and Thetford have signed up to join its new Hyperfast full-fibre broadband network with a further 14 villages in south Norfolk on the cusp of securing the 1,000mbps connection.

Local councillors are now urging residents and business owners in the remaining 14 villages in the rollout’s first phase to rally together and support County Broadband with its proposals to build the new future-ready infrastructure to receive internet speeds 20 times faster than the UK average.

Thousands of residents and business owners in 52 villages across East Anglia have already given the green light to have the future-ready network built after last year’s rollout launch, backed by a £46million private investment by Aviva Investors. County Broadband has plans to start engaging with a further 60 villages across the region by the end of 2020.

The 14 villages that have signed up to County Broadband’s full-fibre network are: Aslacton, Bressingham, Forncett, Great Moulton, Needham, Starston, Wacton, Bunwell, Carleton Rode, Shelfanger, Tibenham, Pulham Market, Pulham St Mary and Winfarthing.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

There is a minimum threshold of pre-order sign ups from residents and businesses in each village before projects are approved and the network build can begin. Schools and community halls will also receive a free connection and service.

Following the announcement, one of the first to order in the village: John Johnson-Allen, who lives in Great Moulton and is Chairman of the Parish Council, commented: “My fellow councillors and I all enthusiastically supported full-fibre broadband coming to the village. It is a fantastic opportunity which will benefit the whole community. As other local villages are also taking the wonderful opportunity which we have been given, nearby communities will also benefit from lightning fast speeds after years of average speeds of 20mbps.

“We are delighted that Great Moulton has reached the threshold and we are now looking forward to receiving the full benefits of full-fibre broadband. On a personal level, as a historian and author, the increased speeds will be a huge help in my research.”

It follows the government’s flagship pledge for the entire UK to have access to gigabit speeds by 2025 to catch up with the rest of the world and forms part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “infrastructure revolution”.

Currently, only 10% of UK homes and businesses can access full-fibre broadband, compared with 71% in Spain and 89% in Portugal. The government is relying on privately funded infrastructure specialists like County Broadband to deliver the ambitious plans proposed for gigabit-capable speeds to all premises across the UK by 2025.

The network would be built and installed later this year and be available to all premises which pre-order a service. County Broadband is providing further information to residents and businesses in the villages including project updates, local village hall meetings and Q&A sessions.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “We are delighted to have welcomed over 130 villages across East Anglia to our network and are pleased to announce further rural communities in Norfolk in our roll-out plans. We call on councillors and residents to consider the benefits of our Hyperfast full-fibre network and sign up now.”

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 rural areas. This means HD films and music can be downloaded in seconds and will support the growing number of devices in the home that rely on an internet connection.

FTTP speeds are up to 20 times faster than superfast broadband which is based on a FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) infrastructure which, even though is promoted as fibre, uses slow copper cables to deliver the internet from green roadside cabinets to the home. Speeds typically halve over the first 600 metres of copper cable and continue to lose speed over distance. This restricts the speed capabilities of a broadband service to the home and connections can be unreliable at peak times.

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Revealed: 13 Essex villages could miss out on new lightning fast full-fibre broadband network

Thirteen villages in rural Essex on the cusp of securing UK-leading full-fibre broadband of up to 1,000mbps, 20 times faster than the UK average, have been revealed by specialist Hyperfast broadband provider County Broadband, based near Colchester.

Thousands of residents and business owners in 52 villages across East Anglia have already given the green light to have the future-ready network built after last year’s rollout launch, backed by a £46million private investment by Aviva Investors. County Broadband has plans to start engaging with a further 60 villages across the region by the end of 2020.

Local councillors are now urging residents and business owners in the remaining 13 villages in the rollout’s first phase to rally together and support County Broadband with its proposals. The villages are: Frating, Thorrington, Rosewood development (Myland), Langham, West Hanningfield (including part of South Hanningfield), Hempstead, Hazeleigh, Woodham Mortimer, Woodham Walter, Little Maplestead, Mundon, Purleigh and Helions Bumpstead.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband
There is a minimum threshold of pre-order sign ups from residents and businesses in each village before projects are approved and the network build can begin. Schools and community halls will also receive a free connection and service.

It follows the government’s flagship pledge for the entire UK to have access to gigabit speeds by 2025 to catch up with the rest of the world and forms part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “infrastructure revolution”.

Currently, only 10% of UK homes and businesses can access full-fibre broadband, compared with 71% in Spain and 89% in Portugal. The government is relying on privately funded infrastructure specialists like County Broadband to deliver the ambitious plans proposed for gigabit-capable speeds to all premises across the UK by 2025.

David Burch, Director of Policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, said “Having access to an efficient and fast broadband network is an absolute essential for success today and we congratulate County Broadband for the work they are doing to ensure that businesses across the East of England, and especially in Essex, will be able get just that.”

The network would be installed later this year and be available to all premises. County Broadband is providing further information to residents and businesses in the villages including project updates, local village hall meetings and Q&A sessions.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “We are delighted to have welcomed over 130 villages in Essex to our new network and call on the remaining rural communities to consider the benefits of our Hyperfast full-fibre network and seize the opportunity to get future-ready.”

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 rural areas. This means HD films and music can be downloaded in seconds and will support the growing number of devices in the home that rely on an internet connection.

FTTP speeds are up to 20 times faster than superfast broadband which is based on a FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) infrastructure which, even though is promoted as fibre, uses slow copper cables to deliver the internet from green roadside cabinets to the home. Speeds typically halve over the first 600 metres of copper cable and continue to lose speed over distance. This restricts the speed capabilities of a broadband service to the home and connections can be unreliable at peak times.

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Boost for full-fibre broadband in rural South Cambridgeshire

Following a £46million investment from Aviva Investors, Hyperfast broadband provider County Broadband has announced it is commencing the rollout of new full-fibre networks in South Cambridgeshire, creating new opportunities for underserviced communities and businesses.

In the latest major boost to Cambridgeshire’s growing digital economy, County Broadband initially plans to build the new gigabit-capable networks in nine villages in the south of the county with more set to be unveiled later this year.

The announcement follows an initial launch in Essex and Norfolk last year which has seen over 10,000 residents and business owners sign up to receive future-ready digital connectivity with construction well underway in 50 villages.

The rural communities would have some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK at up to 20 times the national average. It follows the government’s flagship pledge for the entire UK to have access to gigabit speeds by 2025 to catch up with the rest of the world and forms part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “infrastructure revolution”.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “Whilst Cambridgeshire is already ahead of some parts of the country when it comes to full-fibre broadband, there is still a long way to go as many communities and businesses still rely on an outdated, copper-based infrastructure.

“Changing consumer habits and increased data reliance from the rise of online streaming, combined with an increasing number of services from health to education moving online means that future-ready internet connectivity is now an essential. The installation of Hyperfast full-fibre networks will provide a real boost to the regions’ economy and unlock new growth opportunities for businesses and attract new investment opportunities.”

According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the deployment of full-fibre broadband would be worth £5.38bn to the East of England economy over the next five years.

Welcoming the announcement, Councillor Ian Bates, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee which oversees the Connecting Cambridgeshire digital connectivity programme, said: “Cambridgeshire is a leading digital county and we know how important it is to have fast, reliable Internet access wherever you are.

“It’s vital for our businesses to be able to compete, for our communities to thrive, and for people to access council services online. We welcome County Broadband’s commitment to investing in gigabit-capable services for rural villages in Cambridgeshire, which supports our ambition to extend full fibre coverage across the county to deliver better connectivity. Our Enabling Digital Delivery team is helping to ensure the rollout progresses as quickly as possible.”

Currently, 8% of UK homes and businesses can access full-fibre broadband, compared with 89% in Portugal and 99% in South Korea. The government is relying on privately funded infrastructure specialists like County Broadband to accelerate the UK’s roll-out.

The villages included in the initial rollout now have the choice of pre-ordering the new network or staying with their current providers. At least 30% of residents and businesses need to commit to pre-ordering to give the green light to start construction in each village. The networks would be installed in late 2020 and be available to all premises.

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 rural areas. This means HD films and music can be downloaded in seconds.

FTTP speeds are up to 20 times faster than superfast broadband which is based on a FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) infrastructure which, even though is promoted as fibre, uses slow copper cables to deliver the internet from green roadside cabinets to the home. Speeds typically halve every 600 metres and connections can be unreliable in peak times.

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Safer Internet Day 2020: 5 quick ways to improve online security from Essex tech specialists amid ‘complacency’ warnings

Internet users must not become complacent amid an increasing range of threats, according to rural Essex full-fibre specialists County Broadband, which has issued five steps to improve online security on Safer Internet Day (February 11).

Seven in 10 people think they will become a victim of cybercrime in the next two years while one third believe losing money or personal details online is now unavoidable, the UK Cyber Survey 2019 found. Over half a million fraud reports were made to Action Fraud between 2017 and 2019, from online shopping fraud to scammers posing as IT specialists to fix computers.

Cybersecurity also cost large firms an average of £22,700 per incident last year according to the government’s Cyber Security Breach Survey 2019.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, which is building new Hyperfast full-fibre broadband networks in over 50 villages in Essex, said: “Safer Internet Day provides the perfect opportunity for all digital users, young and old, novices and experts, to review and improve their online security in the face of ever-increasing sophisticated threats.

“From installing the latest tools to help prevent identity theft and privacy breaches, to spotting the hallmarks of dirty tactics waged by savvy hackers, we cannot afford to get complacent in the perpetual tug-of-war to remain safe in the modern world of rapidly-evolving technology.

“We hope residents and businesses in Essex find our five quick steps helpful to strengthen their cyber-security in the ongoing battle to remain safe, vigilant and resilient online.”

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

5 Quick Tech Fixes to Improve Online Security

 

Password protection

  • Allen keys are great for IKEA projects but your passwords shouldn’t be treated like one. Having different passwords for all your accounts is now a necessity. If you’re breached once, it can’t be repeated. You can download a password manager to take the strain and keep safe (and not forgotten) all your passwords. And, don’t forget – your passwords must regularly change and have capital letters, symbols, numbers and nothing memorable.

Two-factor authentication

  • This popular approach adds a vital layer of protection to secure your accounts. The concept involves a master password or sign-in, followed by a one-off temporary code sent directly to the account holder. For example, some banks will only let customers sign in after sending an extra text message authentication that expires within a few minutes. Some services you access through smartphone apps are also now asking for fingerprint identification or iris scanning as the second gateway.

Clear your cache

  • Reducing your online footprint should be a regular routine, as your multi-device, synced-up browsing history could reveal sensitive personal information such as your home address. You could download an app which does this for you automatically in the background – a fit and forget approach suited for busy modern life – such as Cookie AutoDelete for Google Chrome.

Shopping

  • You may have saved £67 on that indoor drone you’ve always wanted but cancel any orders right now from shopping websites, particularly obscure outlets, with URLs ending in .net. These are very rarely used by reputable retailers and are classic calling cards of illegitimate organisations. Plus – don’t save financial information. Make the effort each time to type out your details, no matter how tempting it might be to save your 16 digits.

Banking

  • Find out now if you’re with one of the most, or least, secure banks in the country. Consumer watchdog Which? regularly keeps track of the league table, carried out by independent security experts. Your habits are important too – you shouldn’t be online banking via open public Wi-Fi networks or hotspots. These are insecure and prone to unencrypted data being seized upon by fraudsters. Use a trusted private connection or 4G/5G – both will be encrypted.

 

Bonus tips

  • Secure your browser. Consider adblocker apps and desktop plug-ins like HTTPS Everywhere.
  • Back-up your data. Consider external hard disks or cloud-based software to keep your important files out of reach of hackers. Hard disks can be goldmines for personal, sensitive data. Apps like BitLocker and FileVault provide automatic encryption
  • Operating system. Ensure automatic updates are enabled for your device.

 

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Top tech tips for improving your online security

From installing the latest tools to help prevent identity theft and privacy breaches, to spotting the hallmarks of dirty tactics waged by savvy hackers, we cannot afford to get complacent in the perpetual tug-of-war to remain safe in the modern world of rapidly evolving technology.

Especially when handy guides such as this tell you how easy it is to bolster your defences. So, here are six quick steps you can take right now to help get cyber-secure in 2020.

Password protection

Allen keys are great for IKEA projects but your passwords shouldn’t be treated like one. Having different passwords for all your accounts is now a necessity. If you’re breached once, it can’t be repeated. Too much admin? Download a password manager to take the strain and keep safe (and not forgotten) all your passwords. It will find and encrypt all your passwords. You can also use your new best friend to auto-fill your username and passwords, leaving you with just one password to remember. And don’t forget – your passwords must regularly change and have capital letters, symbols, numbers and nothing memorable.

VPN shield

Get yourself a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to help provide a secure connection when you’re unsure of your public environment, like in a coffee shop. VPNs encrypt (scrambling a message or data to make it unintelligible to unauthorised users) and protect data exchanged over the network traffic and conceals your location. This doesn’t only provide a digital cloak of invisibility but can save you money too – if you’re a city-dweller and eyeing up holidays or insurance, you’re likely to be charged more. Most require paid subscriptions but transparent and reliable free VPNs are available, such as TunnelBear, Kaspersky and Avira, offering deals such as 500MB free a month.

Two-factor authentication

This increasingly popular approach adds a vital layer of protection to secure your accounts, going beyond the now simplistic approach of a one-layer username and password. The concept includes a master password or sign-in, followed by a one-off temporary code sent directly to the account holder. For example, some banks will only let customers sign in after sending an extra text message authentication that expires within a few minutes. Gmail, Evernote, and Dropbox have been early adopters. Some service you access through smartphone apps are also now asking for fingerprint identification or iris scanning as the second gateway. If this sounds unfamiliar, it’s time to check your apps.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

 Clear your cache

Deleting cookies shouldn’t just be a New Year’s resolution which lasts two weeks. Reducing your online footprint should be a regular routine, as your multi-device, synced-up browsing history could reveal sensitive personal information such as your home address. You could download an app which does this for you automatically in the background – a fit and forget approach suited for busy modern life – such as Cookie AutoDelete for Google Chrome.

Shopping

You may have saved £67 on that indoor drone you’ve always wanted but cancel any orders right now from shopping websites, particularly obscure outlets, with URLs ending in .net or .org. These are very rarely used by reputable retailers and are classic calling cards of illegitimate organisations. Plus – don’t save financial information. Make the effort each time to type out your details, no matter how tempting it might be to save your 16 digits for future.

Banking

Find out now if you’re with one of the most, or least, secure banks in the country. Consumer watchdog Which? regularly keeps track of the league table, carried out by independent security experts. Their 2019 list is here. Your habits are important too – you shouldn’t be online banking via open public wi-fi networks or hotspots. These are insecure and prone to unencrypted data being seized upon by fraudsters. Use a trusted private connection or 4G/5G – both will be encrypted.

Quickfire tips

 Secure your browser. Consider adblocker mobile apps and desktop plug-ins like HTTPS Everywhere.

  • Back-up your data. Consider external hard disks or cloud-based software to keep your important files out of reach of hackers. Hard disks can be goldmines for personal, sensitive data. Apps like BitLocker and FileVault provide automatic encryption
  • Operating system. Ensure automatic updates are enabled for your device.
  • Get our high-spec router. When you sign-up to our Hyperfast full-fibre broadband, being rolled out in rural areas of East Anglia, you’ll get our high-performance fibre Gateway Router, which offers WiFi Scheduling, firewall protection and provides you with a Hyperfast, future-ready broadband connection. Don’t forget – we also offer business packages offering additional support such as a faster call-out time and a higher traffic priority.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, which is building new Hyperfast full-fibre broadband networks in over 50 villages across rural East Anglia, added: “We hope residents and businesses find our five quick steps helpful to strengthen their cyber-security in the ongoing battle to remain safe, vigilant and resilient online.”

You can find out if they’re in a village covered in our Hyperfast full-fibre rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Four reasons why you need Hyperfast full-fibre broadband in 2020

2019 has been an exciting year for County Broadband. Following access to a £46 million private investment from Aviva Investors to rollout future-ready Hyperfast full-fibre to rural premises in East Anglia, set against the backdrop of supportive flagship government pledges despite such turbulent political times, we’re now starting to connect hundreds of customers.

We’ve grown our business exponentially – by 500% in fact – to connect our network to rural residents and businesses amid strong demand. We’re offering free connections to schools and village halls, whilst we’ve discussed Augmented Reality and smart home tech.

As we head into the 2020s, the need for speed and the demand for data are rising at exponential rates, driven by socio-economic changes in how we work, communicate, secure our homes, provide healthcare and education, travel, store things, buy home entertainment, and more.

So here are four reasons why you need Hyperfast full-fibre in 2020…

Speed and Reliability

With speeds up to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps), Hyperfast full fibre is 10 times faster than its ‘superfast’ rival, which starts at just 30Mbps.

If an Essex agriculture firm spends an hour downloading blueprints from Cloud storage, using Hyperfast broadband means it could take only five minutes. Imagine the productivity gains.

For a family-of-four all streaming 4K on-demand TV, like BT Sport or Netflix, speeds of 100-120Mbps will soon be required. Moreover, with smart home devices and gadgets rapidly evolving, similar speeds could help save at-risk residents.

Hyperfast full-fibre delivers on its promise. Superfast broadband providers have long faced justified criticism over the gulf between advertised speeds and what is actually delivered. In 2018, a Which? survey revealed consumers only receive around half the speeds for which they pay. 38Mbps customers received 19Mbps. Some on “up to 200Mbps” packages got 52Mbps. This leads to other problems, like sacrificing upload speeds to boost sluggish downloads. Hyperfast full-fibre networks are five times more reliable than superfast, Ofcom says, have low latency (the time it takes for data to be sent and received), and prevent infuriating internet slow-downs during peak periods.

World-Class Infrastructure

The crux of the matter. The nation’s superfast broadband rollout has been predicated on fragmented Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology: part-fibre, part-copper.

Copper was designed to conduct heat and electricity, not for delivering a broadband connection. As a result, these FTTC networks are not able to provide broadband services fit for purpose, leaving people with an unreliable and frustratingly slow internet connection that cannot cope with our technology demands, let alone future advances!

It’s not fit for purpose. Hyperfast full-fibre is based on Fibre-To-The-Premises (FTTP) technology, in which fibre optic cables are laid directly to your home or business. But FTTP is only available to 10% of UK properties. It’s 89% in Portugal.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Home Entertainment

With next-generation 4K and 8K TV sets hitting the market and the on-demand streaming wars commencing, industry innovation and consumer demand shows no signs of abating in the home entertainment industry in 2020. The latest official figures* show the UK market grew by 10% in 2018 to reach £2.34 billion.

With over 1,400 hours of 4K content, there’s a wealth of shows and movies available to stream on Netflix, but only if you have a reliable connection of 25Mbps. This is simply out of reach for thousands of rural and hard-to-reach homes which aren’t connected to FTTP broadband and could even be beyond the capabilities of superfast households which have multiple devices regularly connected simultaneously.

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video 4K includes original shows like Modern Love and The Grand Tour, while it’s spreading to sports too, where advertisers are expected to take advantage of personalised interactions with viewers.

There will be both 4K and 8K production in place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, while BT Sport Ultimate is capable of offering 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos across a range of devices and TV sets. BT also has the rights to Moto GP, Rugby Aviva Premiership and cricket’s Ashes, to broaden its sporting appeal.

Meanwhile, Samsung and LK are set to step up plans to introduce 8K TVs in 2020, and while native 4K content is not on the agenda, as we’ve argued before, traditional TV is losing the tug of war with the on-demand giants, with subscriptions increasing to cover almost half the UK population whilst traditional TV audiences continue to fall.

Business

From video conferencing to cloud storage, businesses are poised to unlock huge productivity and efficiency gains from Hyperfast full-fibre broadband this year. We know that many local businesses in East Anglia are currently being hampered by slow, unreliable connections, allowing competitors to gain the advantage.

But once they have connected to our future-ready network, they’ll be perfectly positioned to flourish. Video conferencing means less travel, helping companies and their clients to improve their carbon footprint.

If the employee lives in a village which has joined our network, they’ll be safe in the knowledge that working from home will not hamper their ability to share large files or miss out on Skype calls. Flexible and agile working are becoming more popular – and are better for the environment with less traffic on the roads.

Cloud storage and shared access will mean less hardware and maintenance costs, whilst Hyperfast broadband will provide the foundation to allow companies to facilitate and adopt these and other emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and automation software, including data entry and email marketing.

Final Thoughts

Only ‘Hyperfast Britain’ can deliver a future-ready broadband service, ready to compete on the world stage now and primed for future upgrades, challenges and innovations.

*https://advanced-television.com/2019/01/03/uk-home-ent-market-reaches-2-34bn/

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

County Broadband passes 10,000 customer milestone

A key milestone in bringing UK-leading internet speeds to rural parts of East Anglia is being celebrated after 10,000 homes and businesses across Essex and Norfolk pledged to have full-fibre broadband installed in their village, Hyperfast broadband provider County Broadband has announced.

Residents and business owners in 130 villages in the Colchester, Braintree and Chelmsford areas of Essex, as well as 18 villages in the Diss and Thetford areas of Norfolk, are set to join the UK’s top 8% for digital connectivity with future-ready speeds of up to 1 Gigabit (1,000 Mbps). Currently, the average UK rural speed is just 28 Mbps*.

However, the Hyperfast full-fibre networks will only be built in each village if at least 30% of the local community agrees to take up the service. Schools and community halls are also being offered free connections.

Work is already under way to connect over 50 Essex villages to County Broadband’s Hyperfast full-fibre network, with Eight Ash Green, Dale Close and Stanway near Colchester expected to be connected in January.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Matthew Allum, landlord at The Cricketers pub in Eight Ash Green (left below), toasted the news: “Reliable internet connectivity is no longer seen as just a luxury as more of our customers expect to be able to get online when they visit our pub. This new full-fibre network is an exciting opportunity for us and means we can provide more services to the community, such as streaming sporting events, and ensures we can take advantage of new technologies over the coming years.”

Richard Hartley, from Carleton Rode near Attleborough in Norfolk (right), pledged to have the service installed after struggling with slow internet speeds: “Carleton Rode, like many areas in Norfolk, has historically been left behind when it comes to broadband and I hope our community can join together to secure this amazing new service so we can all benefit from it.”

County Broadband’s new networks are funded by a £46million private investment from Aviva Investors and the firm aims to provide connection access to 30,000 premises across the East of England by the end of 2020.

James Salmon, head of sales at County Broadband, said: “We’ve very excited to reach this important milestone and it’s clear there is a huge appetite for Hyperfast broadband speeds in rural Essex and across the region. We live in an increasingly data hungry world of ultra-high definition streaming and online services but current superfast connections have been a sticky-plaster solution.

“The newly elected government is pushing for all of us to have access to gigabit capable speeds and we share this ambition. We believe our new hyperfast full-fibre networks will have a significant impact on not just local residents but businesses, communities and the wider economy.”

*Ofcom, UK Home Broadband Performance report, May 2019

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Providing a different kind of fibre this Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, however for some people this is not the case and the strains of making ends meet at this time of year can prove very stressful to those most in need. This is why local food banks are a lifeline for some people and used all year round, however Christmas proves to be their busiest time of year.

That is why we have partnered with Colchester Foodbank to offer people a different kind of fibre this Christmas, launching a Christmas fundraising campaign to fund vital food supplies for the local charity.

In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children*. Colchester Foodbank’s aim is to end hunger and poverty in the UK and at Christmas time they need our help more than ever.

Colchester Foodbank has helped 7,000 people in crisis last year by providing three-day, nutritionally balanced emergency food parcels to those who have been referred to in a crisis in local villages around Colchester.

To support the food bank, we teamed up with our suppliers to raise over £1,000 for the charity. This will either go towards the day-to-day running of the food bank, or a new building for them to use.

As well as this, we held a food collection where staff were incredibly generous and donated three large boxes of food, like tinned fruit, toiletries and Christmas treats to help people in need during the festive season.

Three employees also donated their time to help with packing emergency parcels for those most in need this Christmas.

The campaign was the idea of County Broadband communications executive Annabelle Gardiner, who said: “This is something I am very passionate about as the festive season can be a very difficult time for vulnerable people in our society.

“County Broadband is passionate about helping communities in any way they can, so partnering with Colchester Foodbank allows them to help people in crisis this Christmas.

“Thanks to the generosity of our staff, we were able to make a positive impact in the community, but to make an even bigger impact, we partnered with our suppliers and have donated £1,090 to the food bank.

“Myself, County Broadband and our suppliers all share the same passion for helping our communities, and by working together we are able help alleviate people’s worries and stress and make their lives a little easier this Christmas.”

The support has been welcomed by Colchester Foodbank which is facing increased pressure and demand this year to help all those in need.

*Full Fact, September 2019

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Comment: Reaction to the Queen’s Speech, December 2019

County Broadband reacts to the Queen’s Speech, December 2019.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “We welcome the government’s renewed commitment laid out in the Queen’s Speech to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to every premises across the UK, including hard-to-reach areas.

“We are uniquely positioned to roll out future-ready Hyperfast connections to thousands of people across communities in rural East Anglia, where the need for homes and businesses to have reliable full-fibre broadband is essential to access services for education, health services and entertainment. This is even more vital as the government starts the process of leaving the EU and will be essential to help position UK plc to be able to compete on a global scale.

“We are looking forward to the release of the full strategic review due in February and working closely with residents, key stakeholders and the digital minister to help make our region one of the first to have access to full-fibre connectivity in the UK.”

All I want for Christmas is Netflix – why streaming is our beloved new festive tradition

British traditions come alive at Christmas like no other time: the madcap shopping and wrapping of presents; the garish jumpers and hats; the awful jokes; dad falling asleep to The Snowman; Brussels sprouts and left-over turkey sandwiches; the Queen’s Speech; never-ending charades and chocolate; dad waking up during the evening film and looking confused.

Just like the unexpected extra relatives crowding round the dinner table, there’s always room for more traditions – with digital streaming now entering our homes and hearts on the big day and festive season.

In 2019, Netflix is striking the right notes with its A Christmas Prince cheesy trilogy, Amazon Prime has some old classics (It’s A Wonderful Life; White Christmas), while Disney Plus is keeping the children entertained with Home Alone and The Muppet Christmas Carol. A streaming feast for the whole family.

A UK breakdown is not available but to provide context, last year’s UK Christmas Day TV ratings battle was won by Michael McIntyre’s festive special, watched by 6.1 million on BBC One. To put that in perspective, Only Fools and Horses and EastEnders attracted over 20 million in their pomp, while other Christmas Day 2018 big hitters (Strictly, Call the Midwife) were down by millions on 2017 – itself down 7% on 2016’s Christmas period overall.

Like a badly cooked turkey, these figures must be difficult to digest for TV bosses, as viewers flock to Netflix and their rivals for their annual dose of Christmas telly.

We’ve argued before how on-demand streaming services are turning traditional television into the Ghost of Christmas Past. But while Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Apple TV+ and others pose a danger to TV broadcasters, and perhaps less so cinema, they have quietly, quickly, without fuss – and even warmly – been welcomed into our precious Christmas itineraries and tinsel-coated living rooms. Provided you have a reliable connection, it’s the ease of a few buttons at the end of a long day to indulge in your favourite film or TV box set. Gone are the days of hunting, and fiddling, with DVDs and Blu-rays.

Here to stay is the cultural shift, because our data demands show no sign of abating. In its Communications Market Report 2019*, Ofcom found that average data consumption per fixed-line connection (your typical home or business broadband connection) increased by 26% to 240GB per month in 2018 – the equivalent of 80 hours of HD streaming on Netflix per month.

And it’s the original content we’re after too. Those troubling TV audience stats may point to a growing sense of frustration of tired annual repeats as much as the lure of instant streaming.

The streaming revolution is also, importantly, catering for children, who were originally assigned centre stage billing at this time of the year by Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol in the mid-19th century as Victorian Britain converted the festive season into a commercial enterprise for the first time (Christmas crackers; turkeys sent on long marches from East Anglia to London). Netflix has its ‘kids section’ while Disney Plus has an obviously large catalogue of childhood classics – interestingly reclaimed from Netflix’s archives.

These combined forces give rise to the obvious argument of the immediate installation of future-ready Hyperfast full fibre broadband. After the fun and games have ended and the children are kept entertained on their devices, and after the Google Home or Alexa assistants have pumped out their last Christmas songs of the day, the parents and grandparents will need enough bandwidth and capacity to stream their long-awaited festive films.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in our Hyperfast rollout by using our postcode checker here.

*https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/155278/communications-market-report-2019.pdf

Comment: Reaction to the General Election result, December 2019

County Broadband reacts to the General Election result, December 2019.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “The re-elected Prime Minister has already made digital infrastructure a notable investment pledge in his victory speech following his campaign commitment to the rollout of gigabit broadband connectivity. We look forward to working with the digital minister in support of his promise to connect the entire UK, including rural and hard-to-reach areas, to future-ready networks.

“County Broadband has big plans to connect thousands of rural communities to our Hyperfast future-ready networks in 2020 across the East of England, making the region a flagbearer for world class digital connectivity.”

County Broadband raises over £1,000 and donates vital food parcels to Colchester Foodbank

County Broadband has raised over £1,000 and donated three large boxes to Colchester Foodbank to help vulnerable people across Essex this Christmas.

The local firm partnered with their own suppliers in support of the foodbank to raise funds through voluntary donations and internal food collections where staff contributed items including tinned fruit, toiletries and festive treats.

Employees also visited Colchester Foodbank and spent the afternoon packing emergency food parcels to be sent to the most vulnerable for use over the Christmas period.

There are currently more than 14 million people living in poverty across the UK* and in Colchester it is estimated nearly a third of all children are in poverty**.

The support has been welcomed by Colchester Foodbank which is facing increased pressure and demand this year to help all those in need.

Anne Barney, volunteer at Colchester Foodbank, said: “Whilst Christmas is meant to be a time of joy and celebration, for many people across Colchester and Essex it is real struggle. We are very grateful to the team at County Broadband for their support at this busy time of year.

“Vital funds to maintain the foodbank and donations of food provide are a real lifeline to those most in need and is only possible through the generous support of the wider community.”

Colchester Foodbank has helped over 7,000 people in crisis so far this year by providing three-day, nutritionally balanced emergency food parcels to those who have been referred.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “Communities are always at the heart of what we do which is why it’s so important for us to help them in any way we can. The support that the dedicated team at Colchester Foodbank offers is essential and we are proud to be supporting them to help those in crisis during the festive season and beyond.

“I would like to say a big thank you to our suppliers who donated to our Christmas campaign. This is a great example of what a big difference we can make by working together.”

*Full Fact, September 2019
**End Child Poverty, 2019

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Comment: Reaction to Labour Party’s free broadband pledge

Statement: Reaction to Labour Party’s free broadband pledge

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, which is rolling out full fibre networks across rural East Anglia, said: “The announcement highlights the importance of full fibre access for all. However, it also shows an alarming lack of understanding about the complex nature of full fibre rollouts and the fact that, unlike by comparison the rail industry that operates rail franchises, the industry has already invested billions of pounds in building its own infrastructure over which the service is delivered, in direct competition to BT.

“This proposal would almost certainly lead to delays or at worst derailment of existing full fibre investment and new network roll-outs. It is broadbrush, and makes no mention of how customers would be served and supported, and provides no recognition for what has been achieved by the many Alternative Network providers (AltNets) who are currently active in providing a competitive full fibre solution.

“The competitive nature of the current market in the UK has meant consumers already benefit from one of the lowest cost broadband services in Europe. Broadband is an essential utility and whilst we share the ambition to bring future-ready full fibre connectivity to every home and business, we believe a mix of public and private investment is the only realistic strategy to deliver the service efficiently, without the need to bring significant cost to the public purse.”

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Hyperfast five-fold business growth for County Broadband

We are pleased to announce that we’re set to achieve a five-fold increase in our workforce this year and have ambitious plans to become a “major player” in the UK’s growing technology sector.

Despite political and economic uncertainty over Brexit, County Broadband has continued to invest and has seen its workforce soar from 16 to 60 since the start of 2019 with bosses confident of becoming a 79-strong team by the end of December.

New roles in technology, finance and community engagement have been created as part of the business expansion.

It follows a £46million private investment from Aviva Investors in 2018 to support the firm’s rollout of hyperfast full fibre broadband to rural areas in East Anglia.

Over 50 villages have already given the go-ahead to have new future-ready Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks installed to benefit from world-class speeds of up to 1,000Mbps in the region – 20 times faster than the UK average.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Lewis Simington, Human Resources Manager, who joined County Broadband earlier this year, described the firm’s growth as “exponential”, saying: “It’s fantastic to be part of a rapidly-expanding team and compared to even six months ago, we’re unrecognisable.

“With the current economic uncertainty, it’s reassuring and a huge boost to the local economy to be part of firm on an exciting growth journey, delivering an important new service to local communities.

“We have just launched a seven-year business plan and 2020 will be the year when we really start coming into our own.

“I think the ambition is to become a major player, both in the region and in the national technology sector – flying the flag for Essex and the East of England. We are realistic about where we are now but we do have big plans for the future.”

Some 25 vacancies were advertised by the firm at the start of October. Young apprentices and engineering technicians from Colchester and the wider region have been among the new recruits and placed on training schemes.

“Local talent is key for us,” Lewis added. “This is essential when you’re looking to move into areas such as Norfolk and Cambridgeshire as you need people who appreciate what we’re trying to do within local communities and have that connection with them.”

David Burch, Director of Policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “Having access to an efficient and fast broadband network is an absolute essential for success today and we congratulate County Broadband for the work they are doing to ensure that businesses across the East of England, and especially in Essex, will be able get just that.

“The key to their success is their willingness to work with local communities to identify needs and deliver them.”

County Broadband aims to provide connection access to around 40,000 premises by the end of 2020.

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.

Full fibre broadband plans stepped up in Diss and Thetford villages

More public meetings have been announced in Diss and Thetford villages earmarked for full fibre broadband which would give thousands of homes and businesses some of the fastest speeds in the UK.

Rural internet specialists County Broadband has already held meetings with residents and community leaders in 21 villages to discuss the unique rollout plans and help secure the 30% sign-up rate needed to trigger the construction of new gigabit-capable broadband networks.

The new infrastructure would provide hyperfast speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps – 20 times faster than the UK average and 10 times faster than copper-based superfast broadband, giving the local economy a huge boost and allowing residents to download HD films in minutes and enjoy uninterrupted speeds across multiple devices simultaneously.

County Broadband’s community team have also been busy in the villages, supporting local charity fundraising events such as pub quizzes and engaging with residents and businesses.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, based in East Anglia, said: “We’d like to thank the villages for welcoming us into their communities as we step up our engagement by inviting local residents and businesses to attend our next wave of public meetings and events over the coming weeks.

“Our community ambassadors will provide important updates on the rollout plans and answer more questions people might have about connecting to our future-ready lightning-fast network which is rapidly expanding in other parts of the region.”

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

More than 35 villages have given the green light to join County Broadband’s network, backed by a £46 million private investment, in rural Essex in recent months.

Community halls and schools have already been promised free connections to the network in areas which give the green light in Norfolk.

Mr Felton added: “Thousands of residents and businesses will soon benefit from gigabit-capable speeds in rural Essex and we strongly urge their regional neighbours in south Norfolk to follow suit and reap the same benefits of being connected to some of the fastest and most reliable download and upload speeds in the UK.

“This is a golden chance for rural Norfolk to become flagbearers for world-class digital connectivity in the region and unlock all the potential of hyperfast full fibre broadband, but it can only happen with the support of local communities which drive forward this ambition.”

The government has pledged that the entire UK should have access to gigabit capable broadband by 2025 to catch up with the rest of the world, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson making full fibre broadband a flagship policy.

Residents and businesses in the Diss and Thetford villages are asked to look out for information being provided locally to find out more details about the upcoming public events.

The rollout is funded by a private investment from Aviva Investors and is not dependent upon public money.

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.

35 villages are on their way to getting future-ready fibre

This is all a part of our mission to bring Hyperfast, future-ready fibre broadband to rural villages across East Anglia.

Main build works are the main construction of our fibre network and involve installing fibre cables in your street or through overhead poles to be able to bring a future-ready connection directly to your door. We are forecasting that these works will take around 10 weeks to complete, and once these works are complete we can then start the connection process.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

These are when we anticipate main build works to start in these villages.

Main builds starting this month (October):

• Aldham;
• Belchamp Walter;
• Bures Hamlet;
• Great Yeldham;
• Pebmarsh;
• Stambourne;
• Steeple Bumstead;
• Toppesfield;
• High Easter;
• Ford End;
• Willows Green.

Main builds starting in November:

• Belchamp St. Paul;
• Bulmer;
• Castle Hedingham;
• Chappel;
• Wakes Colne;
• Wickham St. Paul.

Main builds starting in December:

• Alphamstone;
• Belchamp Otten;
• Lamarsh;
• Little Yeldham;
• Mount Bures;
• Tilbury Juxta Clare.

Main builds starting in January:

• Fordham;
• Gestingthorpe;
• Great Maplestead.

We are currently carrying out main build works in Foxearth and Pentlow, Eight Ash Green and Dale Close.
As well as all of this, we are planning to start pre-build works at the end of this month (October) in:

• Beaumont;
• Bradfield;
• Great Bromley;
• Little Bentley;
• Tendring;
• Wix.

These pre-build works will involve clearing some of the existing duct infrastructure in preparation to lay our fibre cables and carrying out other minor civil engineering activities.

So, between now and January we will be building (pre-build and main build) in 35 villages, making them one step closer to getting Hyperfast fibre broadband.

Our free connection offer (worth £225) is still open in all these villages UNTIL main build works are complete. After that, when you NEED to access Hyperfast broadband in the future, you will need to PAY to get connected!

If you live in one of these villages and would like to access Hyperfast, future-ready fibre in your home, pre-order a connection by visiting www.countybroadbandfibre.co.uk/futureready and entering your postcode or call the County Broadband Hyperfast services team on 01376 562002.

Get the most out of your WiFi router

For 20 years WiFi has been used by people around the world. Invented for consumers in 1997 and released for home use in 1999, WiFi revolutionised the way people used and accessed the internet.

Over 4.33 billion people where active internet users as of July 2019, encompassing 56 percent of the global population (statista.com).

With us relying so much on a WiFi connection, it can be frustrating if your WiFi signal is not as strong as you would like. But there are things you can do to help boost your WiFi signal.

WiFi signals work through radio waves in the air. It is a router’s job to broadcast these frequencies to provide you internet.

WiFi works on the same principal as other wireless devices. WiFi use radio frequencies to send a signal between the different devices in your household from the router. The radio frequencies are completely different from TV, car radios, cell phones. For example, your car stereo receives frequencies in Kilohertz and Megahertz range (AM and FM stations), and Wi-Fi transmits and receives data in the Gigahertz range.

County Broadband’s high-performance fibre gateway routers are duel band routers, this means that they produce two different frequencies.

One of the frequencies that the router produces is 2.4GHz. This frequency travels further throughout the home, meaning that the WiFi signal will reach to more parts of your property but the WiFi speed can be potentially slower. This frequency is better suited for older equipment and devices further away for the router.

The other frequency the router produces is 5GHz. Although this frequency doesn’t travel as far in your home 5GHz provides faster data rates at a shorter distance. Therefore, making this better for newer products like Apple branded goods.

As a rule of thumb, if your product requires more bandwidth you should make sure it is as close to your router as it can be for a stronger signal.

For devices like a SmartTV, we recommend that you wire them directly into your router using a CAT5 (Ethernet) cable to get the required speeds for it to work effectively.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

To ensure your router reaches as much of your property as possible, it is important to consider the location of your router.

James Pallent, Technical support for County Broadband says: “Make sure your router is in a central location in your property so your WiFi signal can travel to all areas in your property. It is also important to make sure that you keep your router in an open area because believe it or not, things like range cookers, thick walls and even fish tanks and interfere with your WiFi signal.”

“It will also help if you place your router away from any other WiFi enabled devices, for example cordless phones, other routers and WiFi enabled printers, as these can also interfere with your WiFi signal causing interference that will effect your wireless speeds. If you are experience any issues that you will like us to clarify, please feel free to give us a call on 01376 562002.”

If you follow all of this advice, you will be able to get the most out of your router and enjoy the Hyperfast speeds our fibre network has to offer.

Don’t have a connection with us?

Enjoy speeds up to 12 times faster than the UK average (up to 600Mbps) and an unrivalled performance for streaming, gaming, uploading and downloading.

Pre-order a connection now by visiting www.countybroadbandfibre.co.uk/futureready/ and entering your postcode.

Schools and village halls offered free access to full fibre broadband

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.”

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

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.

Full fibre construction starts in Essex villages to deliver hyperfast broadband

Construction to bring full fibre broadband to rural Essex has started after 30 villages gave the go-ahead this summer, specialist internet service provider County Broadband has announced.

Residents and business owners in rural communities in the Colchester, Chelmsford and Braintree areas gave the green light to have new hyperfast gigabit-capable networks built – which will put them in the top 8% of the UK for digital connectivity.

Eight Ash Green and Dale Close, both near Colchester, are the first villages where construction work has started. Other villages set to benefit from the rollout over the coming weeks include Aldham, Wakes Colne, Chappel, Fordham and Mount Bures.

Community leaders gathered to celebrate the launch. Lesley Scott-Boutell, councillor for Dale Close in Stanway, said: “People increasingly rely on ever faster broadband but unfortunately some areas are often left behind when it comes to their digital connectivity.

“This new full fibre network will provide a real boost to residents and businesses and will play an important role in the long-term prosperity of these local communities.”

County Broadband’s new network, which can provide hyperfast speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps, is backed by a £46 million pound investment to upgrade rural villages and future-proof their broadband by offering speeds 20 times faster than the national average.

Stanway resident Laraine Green added: “I am very pleased our community has joined together to secure this new service and it’s amazing to think that our village will have some of the fastest broadband in the country. We’ve all struggled with slow internet speeds for too long, making watching online TV programmes, films and using other online services a real struggle, particularly for families who all want to get online at the same time. We can’t wait to start using the new service.”

The news follows the government’s pledge for the entire UK to have access to future-ready full fibre by 2033 to catch up with the rest of the world.


Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “We are very excited to welcome these villages to be at the leading edge of bringing full fibre broadband into their homes and help to make rural Essex a flagbearer for world-class connectivity.

“Building next-generation full fibre broadband is vital for rural residents, businesses and economies to thrive in our digitally connected world. By joining our network, we believe residents and businesses have made a wise investment in their long-term prosperity by getting future ready.”

Full fibre broadband provides speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) through fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks in which fibre optic cables are connected directly into properties. This means users can download HD films in seconds, take full advantage of online streaming services such as on-demand TV, and allow the whole family, or all employees in a business, to enjoy fast, uninterrupted internet access.

In contrast, superfast broadband relies on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) infrastructure which, even though is promoted as fibre, uses copper elements to deliver the internet from green roadside cabinets to properties. Speeds halve approximately every 600 metres and connections can be unreliable in peak times.

The new networks in the 30 villages in Essex are set to be fully operational by early next year. More villages are also expected to be announced to be built by Christmas with 140 in total being targeted across Essex and Norfolk. The roll-out is funded by a private investment from Aviva Investors and is not dependent upon public money.

County Broadband, which also provides a wireless internet service, was established in Aldham, Essex, in 2003, and currently has over 3,000 customers across East Anglia.

 

Gamers deserve future-ready fibre

With more than 2.5 billion gamers all over the world, video games are a fast-growing market predicted to be worth 90 billion US dollars by 2020 (wepc.com). But this trend is something that relies on a reliable broadband connection, without that- it can cause numerous problems.

Back in June, E3- the world’s premier event for computer games and related products, announced some up and coming releases, including Blair Witch, Fifa 20, Gears 5, Doom Eternal and Cyberpunk 2077 featuring Keanu Reeves- quite possibly the biggest surprise of the entire event.

But nothing annoys a gamer more than a game lagging, disconnections or buffering -they want uninterrupted gameplay.

So, if you’re a gamer who is relying on broadband connectivity [or a parent of a child that does!], it is important that you research and find the right broadband package to suit these demands.

The type of broadband connection you go for obviously plays a huge part in the quality of gaming experience you [or your children] can enjoy. There are different types of packages you can go for, but the main two are either a standard or fibre broadband.

A standard connection uses an existing Openreach phone network to transmit data to your property and as a result can only provide you with an average download speed of 10-11 Mbps, or less if you live further away from the telephone exchange (which.co.uk).

Confusingly, there are also two types of fibre connection. Most homes rely on fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband connections. About 8% of homes can get fibre to the property (FTTP).

FTTC offers you a part fibre broadband service, with a fibre cable going from the exchange to the cabinet, then using decade-old copper telephone wires to deliver the internet connection to your property.

Copper telephone wires can slow your internet down by 50% in the first 100 meters, meaning the further away you live from your cabinet, your speeds will be slower and your connection will be less reliable.

FTTP has a fibre cable going to your property which provides you with a fibre connection directly to your door, eliminating all of the issues you would have with FTTC and a standard internet connection.

Stewart Larner, head of Network Strategy & Operations, says:

“Playing online video games is something that requires a lot of data and often means when you do this, anyone else trying to use your internet will suffer with really slow speeds. With our Hyperfast fibre broadband connection you can use multiple devices at the same time with no issues, something you will not get with an FTTC broadband connection”

Offering you a gigabit-capable connection, you can wave goodbye to buffering and game-lag with internet speeds up to 12 times faster than the UK average and an unrivalled performance for streaming, gaming, uploading and downloading.

With unlimited data and speeds that aren’t impacted during peak times, you can game and stream without worry.

A FTTP connection provides you with a symmetrical service, which means you will be able to upload and download at similar speeds, allowing you to update and stream with no issues.

So, when it comes to the best broadband packages for gamers, in our opinion, a FTTP connection is definitely the only way to go.

Want to test your speed and find out if you can go Hyperfast? County Broadband provides a Hyperfast fibre connection to rural communities across Essex at affordable prices, visit https://countybroadbandfibre.co.uk/ to find out more.

Boris Johnson must deliver full fibre broadband pledge

Following the announcement today that Boris Johnson is set to become Prime Minister after winning the Conservative leadership election, and his repeated pledge in his acceptance speech to bring full fibre broadband to every home, Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, has issued the following statement:

“Full fibre broadband was a key policy in Boris’ campaign and was ranked alongside education and infrastructure in importance in his acceptance speech. Working with unique, local full fibre providers like ourselves, he must now deliver on his full fibre broadband pledge.

“Building next-generation full fibre broadband – and ripping up old Victorian copper-based networks to catch up with the rest of the world – is vital for rural residents, businesses and economies in East Anglia to thrive in today’s connected world, from 4K streaming, online services and file sharing, to attracting investment and becoming digital leaders.

“On behalf of frustrated and digitally forgotten rural communities across our region, we welcome and share the new prime minister’s bold statement of intent to deliver full fibre broadband to every premises in the UK.”

East Anglia holidaymakers get smart home tech advice to ‘beat the burglar’

East Anglia holidaymakers with smart home security systems installed to beat the burglar this summer are being offered key advice on how best to use the emerging technology to keep their property safe by Essex-based rural broadband provider County Broadband, Suffolk Constabulary and the Essex and Norfolk & Suffolk branches of Victim Care.

Smart home tech devices and apps, including alarm systems and locks, motion sensors and security cameras, are becoming increasingly popular among residents as intensifying competition brings down prices and consumer trust improves.

Recent research found UK ownership of smart devices has doubled since 2017, with consumers expected to spend £10.8bn this year.

Many smart home security systems can be accessed on smartphones and tablets and used anywhere in the world to monitor or be notified of suspicious activity at home. The advice from local industry experts on reaping the full benefits of the smart home tech includes:

Do your research

  • There are many different products available so it’s important to purchase smart home tech which is most suited to your needs. Don’t just go for the first option you see and be wary of products which are significantly cheaper as they may be less reliable.

Check compatibility

  • Before purchasing any product, check it is compatible with your existing setup and any other smart devices you already have. If you plan to use your smartphone or tablet to control the device, make sure it works with iPhone or Android.

Regularly test

  • Smart home tech should be regularly tested to ensure it is working correctly, just like smoke alarms and other devices. For more advanced systems such as smart CCTV cameras, you may need to employ a trained professional for servicing.

Keep up to date

  • One of the main benefits of smart home devices is that the technology driving them is regularly updated. Whilst most products update their software automatically, it’s important to manually check on a regular basis for any new security patches.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, which is rolling out full fibre broadband across the region, said: “We’ve probably all experienced that familiar feeling of dread whilst lying on the beach and suddenly not remembering if we’ve locked the back door. But in today’s connected world, we can now enjoy peace of mind with home security whilst abroad at the touch of a button, from detecting would-be intruders to letting in a neighbour.

“Smart home gadgets are now very common, and with the school summer holidays coming up, we’re today urging residents in [area] to take head of our advice to reap the full benefits of the devices to ensure you are fully protected.”

Detective Superintendent Marina Ericson, Head of Investigations and Child Safeguarding for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “We understand how upsetting it is to be a victim of burglary, the thought of an intruder in your home can feel like a violation of your personal space.

“With the summer holidays on the horizon, it is extremely important that residents make sure their homes are secure when they are away or out enjoying the warmer weather.

“Residents could also consider installing smart technology such as a doorbell camera or other remote monitored security cameras to help catch criminals and prevent crime. Such smart technology products proactively help to deter and detect burglars, keeping our communities safe from crime and create an environment which is hostile to burglars and other criminals.”

In a joint statement, David Padgett, Contract Manager for Essex at Victim Support, and Richard Otterway, Contract Manager at Norfolk & Suffolk Victim Care, said: “Burglary not only robs victims of their physical possessions – it can also rob people of their sense of security at home, a place where everyone should feel most safe.

“It’s important that victims know there is support available to them. Norfolk & Suffolk Victim Care, part of national charity Victim Support, provides practical help and emotional support to victims of all crimes, including burglary, whether or not they choose to report to the police.”

Seven homes are broken into every minute in the UK, according to recent research by security firm ADT.

Rural Norfolk’s ‘golden opportunity’ to join UK’s full fibre broadband revolution

Thousands of homes and businesses in rural Norfolk are being urged to seize a “golden opportunity” of connecting to UK-leading full fibre broadband after unique rollout plans were unveiled today by County Broadband, a specialist provider based in East Anglia.

In a major boost to Norfolk’s rural digital economy, County Broadband has initially identified over 20 villages in the Thetford and Diss areas where it aims to build its future-ready gigabit-capable full fibre network, offering ultrafast and hyperfast speeds. The project is funded in part by a £46million private investment by Aviva Investors.

Villagers would have some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK, at up to 20 times the national average. 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.

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, said: “We are very excited to announce our first full fibre rollout plans in Norfolk to help transform the county’s digital landscape and rural economies. Our investment in Norfolk’s infrastructure will not only make many forgotten villages fit-for-the future but will also place them in the top 7% for UK digital connectivity.

“Our all-new, future-ready full fibre networks will provide reliable access to modern services such as on-demand TV, video conferencing and innovative new technology.”

Rural communities have long suffered poor broadband compared with urban areas. New Ofcom research* found the average download speed in the UK countryside was 28Mbps, compared with 63Mbps in urban areas, highlighting the digital divide.

With data usage widely predicted to increase 10-fold every six years, only full fibre can keep pace with consumer demand.

The Norfolk villages included in the initial rollout now have the choice of pre-ordering the new network or staying with their current providers. It is understood there are no other full fibre broadband providers planning to rollout in Norfolk currently.

At least 30% of residents and businesses must commit to pre-ordering to give the green light to start construction in each village. The network would be installed in 2020 and be available to all premises. The provider is holding village information meetings this summer.

Mr Felton added: “This is a unique and golden opportunity for all residents and businesses in our rollout areas to seize the future. We ask them to look out for information which we are publicising locally to find out how they can take advantage of our full fibre networks.”

Over a dozen villages in East Anglia have already joined County Broadband’s rural next generation broadband revolution in recent months. The full fibre infrastructure could also underpin the new 5G mobile network as mobile masts will need full fibre cabling to manage the increase in data demanded by 5G.

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.

Local authorities encouraged to find out more about privately funded full fibre broadband

High speed, reliable broadband connectivity will soon be an essential utility – just like electricity and water. The government knows that we are all going to need faster and faster broadband speeds which is why they have stated that the whole country should have access to full fibre by 2033.

There are a number of public sector initiatives to help secure improved digital connectivity but they are primarily focussed upon upgrading existing, out-dated copper wire infrastructure which is not able to reach future-ready, hyperfast speeds and are dependent on public funding.

County Broadband – a broadband provider specialising in rural areas in the East of England – is one of a number of companies across the UK able to construct all-new, future-ready full fibre networks at no cost to the public purse. A key issue is, however, the need for greater public information and support from local authorities about the need for hyperfast speeds.

Rural areas are lagging behind in terms of broadband speed and reliability. With infrequent public transport, closure of post offices and banks in rural areas together with a desire to minimise unnecessary journeys, residents are arguably more dependent upon online services than their urban counterparts. Businesses will also be unable to thrive in rural areas without fast, future-ready internet access.

A recent survey* undertaken by County Broadband of over 2,000 rural homes in England shows that the majority of residents are not only frustrated with their broadband but also completely unaware that it will not provide a future-proof solution. Whilst hyperfast uses fibre directly to a property, superfast relies on existing, outdated copper cables to deliver fibre from local cabinets – reducing speed and reliability.

The survey showed that almost two thirds (60%) of consumers living in rural areas don’t understand the difference between superfast and hyperfast broadband. In addition, over half (57%) of those questioned said they were frustrated with their internet citing poor performance and unreliable speeds with 16% struggling on a daily basis.

Click here to get Hyperfast Broadband

Braintree District Councillor Peter Schwier is a strong advocate for the roll-out of full fibre networks and explains the importance to rural communities. He says: “I am delighted that County Broadband is rolling out full fibre broadband to the vitally important rural areas of Braintree District.

“This new network is an ambitious schedule to full fibre-enable rural properties, dramatically improving speed, bandwidth and quality. It is not only needed today but future-proofs our rural communities and businesses and will enable everyone to enjoy the choice and benefits of unlimited, hyperfast broadband.”

Peter Schwier continues: “Full fibre broadband will drive productivity in community level economies – both in terms of attracting future generations and commercial prosperity. Shopping, healthcare, education, banking and public services are now accessed online as well as entertainment and all require reliable, fast connectivity. Similarly, businesses and homeworkers need faster and faster broadband speeds.”

County Broadband’s high-tech ‘Fibre-To-The-Premises’ (FTTP) gigabit-capable networks deliver ultrafast and hyperfast internet speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) directly into some of the most difficult-to-reach homes and businesses – at more than 20 times faster than the UK average.

Focussed upon East Anglia, the Company’s strategy is to service more than 30,000 homes and businesses in the region. The roll-out programme is funded by access to a £46million private investment and is not dependent upon public money or any financial contributions from home or business owners.

NFU East Anglia Environment Adviser Rob Wise said: “Access to reliable broadband continues to be a major problem in rural areas. Government figures show that 7% of premises in rural areas were not able to access decent broadband services and speeds, compared with just 1% in urban areas, and the situation is much worse in rural hamlets and for isolated dwellings where 35% are unable to access a decent connection.

“The NFU’s 2018 survey revealed that 42% of responding members still have a connection speed of less than 2Mbps. We must embrace every opportunity to increase the roll-out of fibre connections in the countryside, both via the public and private sectors, and especially where the two can work together.”

County Broadband is encouraging local authorities in the East of England to find out more about the opportunities for full fibre broadband in their region. As part of the roll-out programme, the Company is hosting a series of village meetings.

“We are encouraging everyone to find out more about the opportunities for full fibre broadband,” says Lloyd Felton, CEO at County Broadband. “Our events provide an opportunity to meet the County Broadband team and hear about the new network. Local government representatives are encouraged to participate to understand the opportunities available through privately funded full fibre broadband networks.”

Lloyd Felton continues: “Our goal is to provide a world-class, future proof infrastructure which will deliver ultrafast and hyperfast broadband speeds of 1,000Mbps now and even faster speeds in future as well as providing additional services such as telephony, home security and access to the vital services that the local authorities and health services plan for online access in the coming years.”

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.

Why Augmented Reality needs FTTP to realise its true potential

Seeing is believing. Yet in the case of Augmented Reality (AR), another emerging cutting-edge technology set to transform our lives, only if the right infrastructure exists.

For the uninitiated, AR fuses our physical and digital realms: virtual 3D elements are overlaid onto our real world. Real-life graphics once reserved for the sole enjoyment of science fiction filmmakers can now be observed directly with our own eyes in real life or captured via a video camera. As the well-worn Simpsons quote goes, what a time to be alive.

AR has the potential to disrupt a kaleidoscope of sectors and markets, from gaming and the traditional workplace through to education, healthcare, retail, and tourism. In contrast, its ‘rival’ Virtual Reality (VR) plunges users into simulated environments, but with no sensory input. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg believes AR won’t evolve from its current infancy to full mainstream adoption until 2022, but by then the combined AR and VR market will already be worth US$179 billion, according to ABI Research.

However, this estimation is predicated on the assumption that most homes and businesses will have access to high bandwidth and low latency broadband. In other words, ubiquitous uptake of FTTP (Fibre-To-The-Premises) ultrafast full fibre to receive symmetrical, seamless and reliable speeds of 1,000Mbps and beyond. This requires the ripping up of knackered old Victorian, copper-based infrastructure – the creaking backbone of so-called ‘Superfast fibre’.

This belated overhaul is being spearheaded across the East Anglian countryside, using millions of pounds of private investment without dipping into the public purse, by County Broadband, to help redress the digital divide and lift the UK’s historically low benchmark for acceptable broadband to parity, at least, with the rest of the world.

“My friend who has just emigrated to rural Thailand has a better data rate than I currently manage in rural Essex,” AR expert Dr Adrian Clark, a Reader in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex, tells County Broadband.

When asked if FTTP really is the key to unlocking the true potential of AR, he said: “FTTP will always win in applications that require large amounts of data to be downloaded. If the application needs low-latency interaction with remote software, which is often the case with shared VR and sometimes AR, then I suspect FTTP will also win.”

Research by Frontier estimates bandwidth requirements for AR/VR to range from 79Mbps and 253Mbps by the end of the next decade. This is beyond the reach of Superfast. This exceeds 300Mbps just five years later and stretches to over 1,500Mbps by 2050.

Clearly, in addition to wired networks, the potential of AR can be harnessed wirelessly via 5G coverage – underpinned by a full fibre infrastructure as mobile masts to which our phones connect rely on the wired cabling to create connections. Broadband engineers use AR in devices out in the field to visualise where pipes and cables will run underground. In retail, consumers can visualise new sofas from the comfort of their very own sofas.

But what about those other sectors, such as business, education and tourism? In gaming, Pokémon Go was a huge worldwide hit in 2017 but was limited in scope and scale by 4G.

As Ofcom described in a recent report on ultrafast broadband, if VR/AR were introduced in games such as World of Warcraft, a large number of multiple, real-time, simultaneous realities would have to be rendered. The report said: “VR/AR ideally requires a user throughput of several hundred Mbit/s. Moreover, latency should be less than one millisecond and high reliability is necessary to provide a smooth action-reaction experience.”

“(AR gaming and outdoor leisure activities) has the potential to be big,” Dr Clark predicts. “I suspect there is a potential market for people who are housebound to get ‘out and about’ with a person wearing a camera. For example, the housebound person could be toured around a National Trust site, watching the live video feed and telling the person with the camera where to go and what to look at.”

He and his students recently developed a tour guide system around some of Colchester’s Roman sites – showing how they would have looked in antiquity. “The viewpoint of the buildings changed correctly as users moved their head and walked around.”

In business, virtual videoconferencing has been trialled in the workplace but tiny rooms have yet to become interactive meeting spaces or conference rooms filled with holograms. Could that change with FTTP-backed AR headsets?

“High-performance networking allows a much greater sense of realism to be achieved,” Dr Clark adds. “This may turn out to be a killer app – certainly a vast improvement on travelling into and back from London for a meeting. This also benefits both social interactions, for example grandchildren in Australia, and business.”

Skype, games consoles and retail catalogues are likely safe for now. But as user demand grows, and the UK joins the rest of the world with a full fibre infrastructure, the low-hanging fruit of fully immersive and transformative technology like AR will be too good to refuse.

Full stream ahead! Why Netflix, Amazon Prime and co are destined to pull the plug on traditional TV

With so much uncertainty disrupting our lives in 2019, from Brexit and climate change to Game of Thrones’ tainted legacy, it’s perhaps reassuring to be certain of something in the future: the unabated growth and dominance of online streaming.

Traditional broadcast TV, predicated on an increasingly redundant business model, is facing an existential crisis as viewers continue to flock to streaming services. The landscape has become fragmented, allowing global players like Netflix and Amazon to dominate the market. Ofcom reported last summer that, for the first time, the number of UK subscriptions to such streaming services had leapfrogged traditional pay television subscriptions: 15.4m versus 15.1m. Don’t forget Netflix only entered the UK market in 2012.

We’re subscribing to multiple video streaming services at a greater rate than ever too. BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) found that 12.3m UK homes in the final quarter of 2018 were signed up to either Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Now TV – a 20% annual increase. The number of homes with two or more services had also risen by 32% to reach 4.3m. Meanwhile, ITV and BBC are set to launch a joint rival called Britbox in 2019, charging subscribers for mostly classic series. Over in America, AT&T (which recently acquired Time Warner), Walmart and Viacom will venture into streaming video services, teaming up with the likes of Comcast (owners of Universal Studios) and MTV Studios. Apple TV+ and Disney+ have also announced they are joining the party.

The share of bandwidth-hungry HD and Ultra HD video content was expected to rise from 4.5% to 21% between 2013 and 2018, according to Cisco. The popularity of 4K TVs is showing no sign of abating, but consumers should recognise that high-speed fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband connections are required to get the most out of such products and services. Netflix recommends users to have a steady internet connection of 25Mbps per device to enjoy its growing range of 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) content. So with homes fast becoming multi-user environments, with the average property now having at least 12 digitally connected devices, it’s not difficult to imagine families and homeowners struggling to get the reliable speeds they need to keep everything switched on – and everyone happy.

Thanks to the growing implementation of full fibre networks by providers such as County Broadband, which remove unfit Victorian copper from our broadband infrastructure and allow for world-leading ultrafast speeds and reliability, today’s exponential growth of digital media consumption is exhibiting all the hallmarks of being the next internet revolution.

Let’s examine this a little further. Consumers are demanding more and more video content, of a higher quality and on more screens. Manufacturers are desperately keen to satiate this demand by providing more content. Others, such as business owners, are keen to share and save time, resources and skills over the internet. But they will be completely dependent on the infrastructure revolution: the delayed UK-wide upgrade from FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) to FTTP. Only FTTP, which delivers ultra-reliable, lightning-fast speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps (10 times faster than FTTC copper-based ‘superfast fibre’) can meet such growing expectations of consumers – who want to browse, share, download, stream and upload without interruption on multiple devices. Full fibre users can download a two hour HD film in less than a minute or 100 songs in three seconds – no matter what time of day. FTTC is simply not sophisticated enough to handle this.

Yet the impact is not solely limited to home entertainment. The rise of online streaming will serve as the driver of technological developments in many industries, not least our digital economy. Advertisers will take advantage of personalised interaction of major live streaming events. New players will challenge the dominance of Netflix and Amazon Prime with fresh takes on advertising video on demand (AVOD) and subscription video on demand (SVOD) business models.

The upcoming Web 2.0 and 3.0 revolutions are also poised to adopt full fibre networks as part of the ‘sharing economy’ phenomenon, along with cloud computing, Internet of Things, and machine-to-machine computing. The real world – the day-to-day physical world – is now being forced to keep pace with virtual world innovation.

So, has the plug already been pulled on our beloved traditional broadcast TV? The most watched UK broadcast exceeded 20m viewers every year between 1970 and 1996 except one. Since then, only five out of the last 22 years have reached this benchmark, and four of those were either the Olympics or the World Cup. Meanwhile, the amount of time spent watching broadcast television on TV sets fell by 16% between 2012 and 2017, down to 3 hours 23 minutes per day, while 16-34 year olds now watch YouTube for an hour a day on average, Ofcom also found. Traditional TV has adapted successfully in the past to changing landscapes and new challenges, but it faces an almighty task to reverse engineer the future on this occasion.

The UK entertainment industry is undergoing seismic, fundamental changes with the growth of online streaming content consumption and shifting modern viewing habits. It is therefore only a matter of time before online streaming dethrones traditional broadcast television as the UK’s preferred entertainment hub.

New survey highlights extent of broadband frustration among households in East Anglia

The majority of rural households are regularly frustrated with slow broadband speeds and confused over the type of service they should be receiving, according to a new survey by Essex based specialist broadband provider County Broadband.

Over 2,000 residents in rural England, including East Anglia, were surveyed* to assess the challenges local communities face with their digital connectivity. The findings follow County Broadband’s announcement of plans to roll out a new ultrafast full fibre network in rural villages across East Anglia which have historically suffered from poor connectivity.

Over half (57%) of those questioned said they were frustrated with their internet citing poor performance and unreliable speeds with 16% struggling on a daily basis. Nearly one in four (22%) weren’t even sure what speed they were contracted to receive from their provider.

There is also widespread confusion over the different types of broadband on offer with 43% unsure of the difference between superfast (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) and ultrafast (Fibre-to-the-Premises) broadband. A further 17% mistakenly believed superfast is faster than ultrafast even though ultrafast offers speeds up to 1,000 Mbps – over ten times faster than superfast.

Under ‘Superfast Britain’, average downloads were a woeful 18.5 Mbps in 2018, behind Romania (38.6 Mbps), Madagascar (24.87 Mbps) and outside the world’s top 30**. That’s 30 years after Britain invented the World Wide Web.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband Ltd said: “Our survey reveals there is a lot of confusion with many homes and businesses signing up for ‘fibre’ thinking they are getting the fastest speeds when in fact their superfast connection relies on existing copper which significantly reduces speed and reliability.

“Our new ultrafast network, which uses full fibre directly into people’s home, will provide a real boost for residents, businesses and whole communities and put them in the top 6% in the UK for digital connectivity. We have already started construction and we will be rolling out across Essex over the coming months.”

The survey also revealed the growing reliance on the internet with the average household now having nine devices connected to their home network including one or more computer (94%), phone or tablet (91%), television (77%), Set-Top Box (66%), gaming console (42%) or digital assistant (34%).

Lloyd added: “As we increasingly rely on the internet in our day to day lives for downloading and streaming films, on demand catch up services, calls or even working from home the slowdowns become more and more noticeable. Ultrafast is the only way to ensure communities have the fast, reliable broadband they need for the future.”

County Broadband has secured access to a £46million investment fund to build full fibre, ultrafast broadband networks throughout the East of England commencing in Essex. Established in Aldham, Essex, in 2003 the company also provides a wireless internet service and currently has over 3,000 customers across East Anglia.

*Survey of 2,002 rural households in rural England, including East Anglia, commissioned by County Broadband and carried out by 4media in April 2019.

**‘UK slips to 35th in global table of broadband speeds’: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/10/uk-slips-to-35th-in-global-table-of-broadband-speeds

Superfast broadband mythbuster – why Ultrafast full fibre is leading the digital charge

The UK has finally got the memo. The future of broadband, our fourth indispensable utility, lies in ultrafast full fibre, underpinned by scalable, reliable, future-ready and lightning-fast networks. Not with existing green roadside cabinets. Not with copper telephone lines forged by the Victorians. Not with short-term fixes of ‘supercharging’ the past. And not with so-called superfast broadband.

As we hurtle towards the third decade of the 21st Century, the demand for data and the need for speed are rising at exponential rates. The twin forces are undeniable, driven by socio-economic changes in how we work, communicate, secure our homes, provide healthcare and education, travel, store things, enjoy home entertainment, and more. This is true in both rural and urban communities.

Only ultrafast full fibre, the one-off investment of delivering next-generation broadband direct to your door alongside water, gas and power, can meet these needs. Both now and in the future. Here are four reasons why:

Speed Revolution

With speeds ranging from 300Mbps to 1,000Mbps, ultrafast full fibre vastly outstrips ‘superfast’, which starts at 30Mbps. That’s ten times faster. If an Essex agriculture firm spends an hour downloading blueprints from Cloud storage, an ultrafast rival could take just minutes. Imagine the productivity gains. For a family-of-four streaming 4K on-demand TV, like BT Sport or Netflix, speeds of 100-120Mbps will soon be required. Moreover, with the Internet of Things (IoT) rapidly evolving NHS and GP services (such as monitoring dementia patients at home and remote diagnostics), similar speeds could help save at-risk residents. Now consider this: Under ‘Superfast Britain’, average downloads were a woeful 18.5Mbps in 2018. Behind Romania (38.6Mbps) and Madagascar (24.87Mbps). Outside the world’s top 30. That’s 30 years after Britain invented the World Wide Web.

Ultra-reliable

Ultrafast full fibre delivers on its promise. Superfast broadband providers have long faced justified criticism over the gulf between advertised speeds and what is actually delivered. In 2018, a Which? survey revealed consumers only receive around half the speeds for which they pay. 38Mbps customers receive 19Mbps. Some on “up to 200Mbps” packages get 52Mbps. This leads to other problems, such as sacrificing upload speeds to boost sluggish downloads. Ultrafast full fibre networks are five times more reliable than superfast, Ofcom says, have low latency, and prevent infuriating internet slow-downs during peak periods.

World-class Infrastructure

The crux of the matter. The nation’s superfast broadband roll-out has been predicated on fragmented Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology: part-fibre, part-copper. The latter was never designed for data communication and causes the ‘postcode speed lottery’ blighting superfast customers due to the distance from the roadside cabinet, the type of copper used, degradation, and funds to upkeep costly repairs. Even the G-fast experiment of turbo-boosting copper lines by expanding the frequency range would only help those within 350 metres. It’s not fit for purpose. Ultrafast full fibre is based on Fibre-To-The-Premises (FTTP) technology, in which fibre optic cables are laid directly to the building. But FTTP is only available to 6% of UK properties. It’s 89% in Portugal. The Government responded in 2018 by announcing all homes will have full fibre by 2033. Here at County Broadband, we’re rolling out across East Anglia, using £46 million of private investment.

Future-ready Communities

Alongside housing, poor digital connectivity is the most prominent concern among rural communities. Urban areas have historically been repeatedly favoured over rural communities during technological cycles. These digital chasms hamper efforts to attract investment and burgeoning industries to rural areas, while creating a digital skills gap and holding back home workers and small businesses who may wish to launch online shops, or access and share large data files. Other far-reaching implications of poor broadband affect transport, health services and social isolation.

Only an ‘Ultrafast Britain’ can deliver a future-ready broadband service: ready to compete on the world stage now, and ready for upgrades, challenges and innovations in the future.

Major expansion for Essex-based broadband company

Specialist rural broadband provider, County Broadband, has doubled the number of employees and is anticipating a 50-strong workforce by the end of year. The news follows the announcement this week that it has commenced construction of its new ultrafast full fibre broadband network which is bringing some of the UK’s fastest internet speeds to rural communities in East Anglia.

Based in Aldham near Colchester in Essex, County Broadband has also increased the size of its operations and service centre demonstrating its commitment to the regional economy and providing a local service for local people.

The recruitment campaign is continuing with a variety of opportunities – from procurement to technical design – being advertised on the Company’s web site. Working with Colchester Institute, County Broadband is also offering an apprenticeship opportunity for a Customer Service Advisor.

Unlike most other providers, County Broadband does not rely on public money or contributions from local residents and businesses to finance construction of the fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks. The company has secured access to a £46million private investment fund and is focussed on transforming rural communities in the region into future-ready digital hotspots.

“Our FTTP infrastructure will propel forgotten villages across East Anglia into the 21st Century and beyond, whilst delivering significant investment in their long-term prosperity,” says Lloyd Felton, chief executive, County Broadband Ltd. “As a business we are expanding rapidly and so are contributing to the local economy on many levels – through digital connectivity, employment opportunities and work for other contractors.”

“We are proving to be a ‘disruptor’ in the broadband industry,” continues Lloyd Felton. “The Aviva Investors’ funding has enabled us to forge ahead with our strategy to service more than 30,000 homes and businesses in the East Anglian region.”

The construction of the full fibre network commenced in Cornish Hall End, a village near Braintree. It will be followed by numerous Essex and Suffolk villages including Cold Norton, Foxearth and Pentlow, Bulmer, Gestingthorpe, Stambourne, Wickham St Paul and Pebmarsh.

Ipswich-based contractor, Telec Networks, is working with County Broadband on the first phase of construction in North Essex. Other local companies are also set to benefit from the growth of the Company.

County Broadband, which also provides a wireless internet service, was established in Aldham, Essex, in 2003, and currently has over 3,000 customers across East Anglia

Work begins to connect Cornish Hall End to County Broadband’s full fibre ultrafast network

Construction has begun to bring some of the UK’s fastest internet speeds to a rural village near Braintree – one of the first in Essex to receive ultrafast full fibre broadband.

Braintree District councillor Peter Schwier (pictured below, far right) officially launched the full fibre network in Cornish Hall End at the village’s new communications cabinet on 15 April. The community is among the first villages in the county which has chosen to connect to the next generation service, which is rolling out across East Anglia.

The ultrafast full fibre network has been launched by County Broadband, a specialist rural broadband provider based in Aldham, near Colchester, following the announcement of a successful private investment giving access to £46 million of funding to transform digital connectivity across the region.

Commenting on the milestone, Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband (pictured below, middle), who also attended the cabinet unveiling, said: “This is an exciting day for Essex and we’re delighted to soon be welcoming Cornish Hall End as the first rural community in the county to join our new full fibre network, significantly changing the way residents and business owners live, work and play.”

The village expressed enough demand to give the provider the go-ahead to invest in the installation of its new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure to approximately 60 properties in the village.

The future-ready FTTP network provides ultrafast reliable speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) directly into homes and businesses. Such speeds are over 20 times faster than the UK average, and even 10 times faster than superfast broadband, placing Cornish Hall End in the top 6% nationwide for digital connectivity.

Local home and business owners will have the choice of upgrading to the new ultrafast network or remain with their current broadband provider, which relies on old copper telephone lines dating back to the Victorian period.

Mr Felton added: “Our FTTP infrastructure will propel forgotten villages across East Anglia into the 21st Century and beyond, whilst delivering significant investment in their long-term prosperity. It will also ensure they are fit for the future when every community will need ultrafast speeds to keep up with increasing digital demands.”

In Cornish Hall End, new fibre cables are being laid to install the FTTP network, allowing users to download HD films in seconds, take full advantage of online streaming services including on-demand TV, and allow the whole family, or every employee, to enjoy fast, uninterrupted internet access.

The government announced last year that the entire UK should have access to full fibre by 2033 to catch up with the rest of the world. Data usage is also predicted to increase tenfold every six years and only ultrafast full fibre solutions will match this requirement.

Councillor Peter Schwier of Braintree District Council said: “I am delighted that County Broadband is rolling out full fibre broadband to the vitally important rural areas of Braintree District.

“This new network is an ambitious schedule to full fibre-enable rural properties, dramatically improving speed, bandwidth and quality. It is not only needed today but future-proofs our rural communities and businesses and will enable everyone to enjoy the choice and benefits of unlimited, ultrafast broadband.”

The new ultrafast broadband service in Cornish Hall End will be fully operational by the beginning of May. Work will also commence at Cold Norton on the Dengie Peninsula in May with additional villages including Foxearth, Pentlow, Gestingthorpe, Bulmer, Stambourne, Wickham St Paul and Pebmarsh following shortly afterwards.

Do you want Fibre?

Pre-Order Today

County Broadband’s full fibre ultrafast broadband is rolling out to other East Anglia rural communities. Residents and businesses are encouraged to attend public meetings to find out more details and place a pre-order to secure their digital future.

The expansion is not dependent upon government funding or financial contributions from home or business owners, as the construction of the entirely new network is made possible by access to a £46m investment by Aviva Investors.

In order to justify the significant expenditure, County Broadband requests that 30% of the local community sign-up for the new service in order to commence construction. There will, however, be nothing to pay until there is a fully operational connection and the monthly payments – similar to any other utility bill.

County Broadband, which also provides a wireless internet service, was established in Aldham, Essex, in 2003, and currently has over 3,000 customers across East Anglia.

What to Look out For when Buying Broadband

Broadband is an essential part of our everyday lives, so much so that internet speeds can affect the price of a property, both positively and negatively. Broadband is now just as important as the provision of water and electricity when buying a home and is one of the first questions prospective buyers ask when purchasing a property.

So, what should you look out for and consider when buying broadband?

The demand for faster broadband speeds is increasing at a dramatic rate. For a few years, Superfast broadband has been seen as the answer, but in rural areas especially, there are a number of factors that you need to consider.

There is a common misconception that Superfast broadband means that fibre – the hair thin glass strands that can carry data at the speed of light – goes directly to a property. In fact, Superfast broadband travels from the telephone exchange to a green roadside cabinet that you’ve probably spotted in your local area, which then transfers internet data via copper lines to your home. These are the same copper wires that have been used for telephone calls for more than a century, and which were never designed to carry data.

The distance between the green cabinet and your home that the copper wires then have to travel have a direct impact on your broadband speed; the further away you are from the cabinet, the slower your internet will be, actually losing half the speed of your broadband every 700 metres.

Copper-based broadband solutions may be working well in places today, but with demand increasing and people’s internet usage evolving, it is necessary to be aware of new technologies that will future-proof your internet speeds. The number of people using the internet in your village at the same time will also affect speeds at peak times – you may notice a slow-down once the kids get home from school!

This is because internet speeds are divided by the number of people using the internet at any one time and the services being used, such as video streaming. Our homes are now multi-user environments, with the average UK home reported to have at least 12 digitally connected devices, such as mobiles and tablets, laptops and PCs, and virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home.

Even our kitchen appliances are starting to use smart technology. We are watching and streaming more television, film and video content than ever before, requiring reliable and uninterrupted internet access. The continually rising popularity of gaming is also necessary to consider, with the younger and slightly older generations reliant on fast online streaming speeds in order to stay connected with friends and achieve the best gaming experience.

Our changing work habits also require consideration. Flexible working is now popular amongst employers, with staff increasingly encouraged to work from home, meaning careers and therefore livelihoods are dependent on broadband speeds. That is why it is vital to make sure your broadband is unaffected by external factors than can impair the speed of your internet.

When purchasing broadband, it is important to remember that the future is all about having fibre directly to your door. FTTP which stands for Fibre To The Premises, is a new internet service being rolled out which will eradicate the use of copper cabling altogether. This will be known as Ultrafast broadband and will offer internet speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps (1Gbps).

County Broadband is rolling out Ultrafast broadband to villages across the East of England to boost internet services in rural communities, starting in Essex and Suffolk. Promising speeds of more than 20 times the national average, it will transform the way rurally situated residents and businesses can access the internet, live, work and play.

Find out if our FTTP broadband is available in your area.

County Broadband receives £46million investment to supercharge rural ultrafast broadband

Following a £46m investment from Aviva Investors, County Broadband is commencing the roll out of its ultrafast full fibre broadband network across villages in the East of England, providing a major boost to under-served rural communities and businesses.

Many rural communities still suffer from so-called ‘broadband black spots’ due to old copper-wire infrastructures dating back to Victorian times. Research* also shows two thirds of customers who have existing so called ‘fibre services’ are not full fibre at all, but arrive to their home through standard copper telephone lines – significantly affecting speeds, reliability and the ability to upgrade to meet future requirements.

In contrast, County Broadband’s high-tech ‘Fibre-To-The-Premises’ (FTTP) network delivers ultrafast internet speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) directly into some of the most difficult-to-reach homes and businesses – at more than 20 times faster than the UK average.

The construction of this entirely new network is supported by a commitment from Aviva Investors which means the company’s expansion is not dependent upon public funds or from any financial contributions from home or business owners.

Lloyd Felton, CEO at County Broadband, said the investment will help support economic growth throughout East Anglia and improve residents’ quality of life.

“Since securing the investment, we have been identifying target areas,” he said. “Many premises might have access to broadband, but the ultrafast speeds that we will all soon need are only available to around 6% of the UK. Household usage and data consumption is already predicted to increase 10-fold every six years and only ultrafast solutions will match this requirement.”

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Based in Aldham, Essex, County Broadband is an established internet service provider in East Anglia. The company is doubling its workforce over the next few months and is in the process of securing work for many local contractors. The company has already deployed a successful all-fibre Gigabit network in Broughton, Cambridgeshire, and already supports over 3,000 homes and businesses with its wireless-based broadband services in the region.

“Our goal is to provide a world-class, future proof infrastructure which will deliver ultrafast broadband speeds of 1,000Mbps now and even faster speeds in future as well as providing additional services such as telephony, home security and access to the vital services that the local authorities and health services plan for online access in the coming years.” Mr Felton said. “Aviva Investors’ recognise the vital need for future proof fibre infrastructure and their funding supports our strategy to service more than 30,000 homes and businesses in the region.”

As part of the roll-out programme, County Broadband is hosting a series of villages meetings. These events provide an opportunity to meet the County Broadband team and find out more about the new network.

Amid growing numbers of services being delivered online, industry experts are highlighting the need for ultrafast broadband speeds to allow for quicker downloads and uninterrupted streaming and eliminating problems when family members simultaneously use the internet.

Ultrafast broadband speeds are also necessary for seamless access to services such as online radio, video on-demand and catch-up TV at the same time, while fibre’s faster upload speeds are more convenient when sharing photos online or making video calls.

Many businesses will also need the ultrafast broadband Fibre provides to benefit from evolving business applications.

County Broadband are offering residents and businesses a free connection** by pre-ordering their ultrafast broadband.

County Broadband brings fibre to Broughton in Cambridgeshire

The project will see about 50 homes in the rural village connected to a newly constructed full-fibre infrastructure, which will be future-proof for customers’ needs going forward.

“We are delighted to be able to build this high-performance network in Broughton, Cambridgeshire and I would like to thank our customers who have taken up the service,” says Lloyd Felton, County Broadband Chief Executive. “We are a local provider with strong ties to the East of England, having provided superfast broadband for the past 15 years via our expansive wireless services. We are now excited to be connecting customers in Broughton to our new full-fibre network.”

He adds: “At the moment residents are relying on a part-copper, part-fibre service from providers like BT, which is not sufficient for the future.

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“At the moment, these part-copper networks are providing on average, about 20mbps (megabytes-per-second) in the United Kingdom, which might seem sufficient today but as devices in the home demand more from the internet connection, it won’t be good enough for the near-future.

“The effectiveness of part-copper networks is also very poor the further houses are from the cabinet, meaning high-performance internet speeds cannot be achieved – this is not the case with high performance fibre networks which County Broadband is building.

“Our full-fibre networks are set to cater for the future so customers can connect future technologies without any concerns on the performance of their network.”