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.
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.