Enough full-fibre broadband cable to double wrap the moon or complete almost 70,000 laps of Colchester United FC’s ground is being laid to connect thousands of rural premises in north Essex to fast internet speeds, specialist Hyperfast provider County Broadband based near Colchester has announced.
Almost 14,000 miles of the infrastructure, seen as vital to help kickstart post-Brexit and post-coronavirus local economies, is planned to be built in rural areas near Colchester, Braintree and Chelmsford by the end of 2020.
The work to build the future-ready networks is continuing during the lockdown as the government views broadband as an essential utility, with County Broadband following public health guidance.
Thousands of residents and business owners in over 50 villages have approved plans to have the new networks, backed by a £46million Aviva investment, built in their community after the rollout launched last year.
The 13,986 miles of Hyperfast full-fibre cable is also enough to complete over 500 marathons or fly from Stansted Airport to Sydney.
The networks provide speeds of up to 1000mbps, almost 20 times faster than the UK average, and form part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “infrastructure revolution” pledge for the entire UK to have access to gigabit speeds by 2025 to catch up with the rest of the world.
Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “We remain committed to laying almost 14,000 miles – double the moon’s circumference – of Hyperfast full-fibre broadband cables to thousands of rural and remote residents and businesses in north Essex who have been blighted by years of poor rural digital connectivity.
“The current mass trial of working from home, increased reliance on the internet for streaming TV and films, and access to online educational services amid the coronavirus lockdown is shining a unique light on the urgent need to banish old Victorian copper networks that are simply unfit for modern life.
“The engines of our local economies will need restarting over the coming months and we believe full-fibre broadband will play a vital role in helping businesses and residents to respond and adapt to the ‘new normal’ – from enabling high-quality video conferences to seamless home entertainment.
“We are all facing difficult and challenging times but we would like to reassure rural communities in Essex that we are here to support them. The highest standards of safety and community sensitivity are of paramount importance as we continue ‘business as usual’.”
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 build gigabit-capable speeds to all UK premises by 2025.
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