A rural broadband provider based near Colchester is set to achieve a five-fold increase in its workforce this year and has 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.
Dozens of villages in the Colchester, Chelmsford and Braintree areas 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.
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,” Mr Simington 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
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