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Openreach Win Phase 4b Essex UK FTTP Broadband Rollout Contracts

Friday, August 2nd, 2019 (11:21 am) - Score 1,626
ditch witch openreach bt civil engineers

A further 3,700 homes and businesses in rural parts of Essex (England) look set to gain access to a Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based “ultrafast broadband” ISP network after Openreach (BT) and the Essex County Council (ECC) signed three new contracts, which are supported by public funding of £5m.

At present the Superfast Essex (SFE) project is already working with both Openreach and Gigaclear to extend “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) coverage to around 97% of the county by December 2019 (currently around 94-95%) and then as close to 100% as possible by 2021. Openreach secured the £3.4m Phase 4a contract earlier this year (here) and now they’ve also picked up 4b.

The new contract is being supported by a grant of £5m from DEFRA’s Rural Development Programme for England. Overall the 3,700 premises split down to an additional coverage of 1,000 rural businesses and 2,700 homes. Once completed this will mean that the overall SFE project will have helped to put superfast broadband connectivity within reach of 158,300 premises (currently 125,000 have so far been completed).

Interestingly the Phase 4b deal actually consists of three separate contracts, which have been split across the following areas.

Phase 4b Contract Areas

4b.4 will include parts of Brentwood, Chelmsford, Harlow and Uttlesford.
4b.5 will include parts of Castle Point, Colchester, Maldon, Rochford and Tendring.
4b.6 will include parts of Thurrock.

Cllr Lesley Wagland, Chairman of the Superfast Essex Steering Board, said:

“This is fantastic news for Essex. Full fibre broadband is the next step in connectivity and future-proofed for years to come. It will help rural businesses to grow and thrive in the growing digital market. It’s great to know that residents in rural areas will also benefit from this new phase of work. Improved broadband connectivity brings with it better access to online public services and greater social and business opportunities all of which contribute to a better quality of life which is what we want for our residents.”

Carl Sproston, Openreach’s Regional Partnership Director, said:

“We are proud of the work we’ve already done in Essex both commercially and in partnership with Essex County Council, and we’re delighted to be bringing our full fibre technology to even more people living and working in the county, making a huge difference to their lives.

This is all made possible by our engineering workforce. We employ over 3,200 people in the East of England and have employed 123 new engineering recruits from Essex alone in the last 15 months.”

Work on Phase 4b is due to start in July 2020 and complete by March 2021 for 4b.4 and 4b.5, while the rollout in Thurrock (4b.6) is due to start in October 2020 and complete by December 2020. Judging by the listed areas it appears as if a lot of this work reflects infill (i.e. extending coverage in areas that have already been partially covered by earlier deployments).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar MrNew

    Keep up the good work Superfast Essex, put the other counties to shame.

  2. Avatar tractormanfromBT

    they need more tractors.

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