Superfast Essex is praised by the government as BT partnership takes off
The rollout of superfast fibre broadband in Essex has received praise from the government, which described Essex County Council’s partnership with BT as “exemplar”, as the project qualified early for a £1.9 million “success dividend”.
The praise for the Superfast Essex programme came during a regular review between the three key funding partners, Essex County Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) – the team within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport overseeing the national broadband rollout.
The programme is being delivered ahead of schedule and promises to provide superfast broadband coverage to 95 percent of Essex by 2019.
Already, 20 percent of the 56,000 homes and businesses given access to superfast broadband under the Superfast Essex programme have chosen to take-up the high-speed technology. Reaching the 20 percent take up figure has triggered the contractual success dividend from BT, meaning the programme now has a further £1.9 million to re-invest to extend the superfast rollout to additional areas.
The programme’s original expectation was to reach the 20 percent mark in early 2018. Achieving this milestone over two years earlier means the broadband investment will earn a return sooner than planned, said BT. The County Council’s extensive programme of communications activities, which included programme updates, social media and engagement events, was recognised as the key factor in driving take up of services.
Essex County councillor Kevin Bentley, cabinet member for economic growth, said: “We have been able to deliver broadband to more people faster than planned. This is one of the best results in the country and the good working relationship between us and BT is a key element of this success.
“This means we are now able to invest further, reaching even more homes and businesses in Essex with this key technology.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director next generation access, said: “The fibre broadband roll-out is a real success story and we’re delighted to be able to share that success with Essex by making £1.9 million available to help connect some of the hardest to reach homes and businesses.”
Superfast Essex aims to reach 120,000 homes and businesses by 2019.