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Essex family first to benefit from new ultrafast broadband network

Tuesday, December 22nd 2015 by Ellen Branagh

An Essex family is enjoying ultrafast speeds in time for Christmas after becoming the first property in the country to benefit from a new ultrafast pure fibre network.

The Vendittis from the village of Bobbingworth in Ongar, Epping Forest District, can now enjoy broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps as part of the Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project.

The £7.5m pilot Rural Challenge Project is part of the Superfast Essex broadband programme, co-ordinated by Essex County Council.

The Rural Challenge Project will give homes and businesses in 18 parishes access to Gigaclear’s ultrafast pure fibre network.

As the first property in Essex to benefit from the network, the Vendittis’ home now has access to internet speeds up to 30 times faster than the UK average.

Digital minister Ed Vaizey and local residents and representatives from Essex County Council, Gigaclear, and Epping Forest District Council joined the family to witness their broadband speeds, which reached up to 940Mbps upload and download.

Dr Nicholas Venditti said: “We are all reliant on cloud-based technology so it is vital that we have decent upload and download speeds.

“Our daughter is a medical student and our son is currently doing his A-Levels so it is vital they are able to have reliable and fast access to the Internet in order to do their homework and university studies.

“My wife and I both work from home at weekends so it is really going to revolutionise things for us.”

He said the family’s broadband connection previously dropped out regularly, so having a reliable connection would make a huge difference.

“Our house is one of the oldest in the village, so much so that we have no mains gas or drainage but we do have the best broadband in the country now.”

Thousands of other homes and businesses in rural villages in Epping Forest District will soon be able to connect to the same ultrafast service as part of the project, for which Gigaclear was awarded the contract in June.

'Keep up with demand'

The company will invest £5.5m in the project, which will be combined with £2m of public funding from Essex County Council, BDUK and Epping Forest District Council.

The project was the first in Essex to be awarded to an alternative provider rather than BT as part of the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project, which aims to bring superfast speeds (24Mbps and above) to 95% of the UK by the end of 2017.

The main BDUK project in the county, which is being delivered by BT, is using fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology to provide 116,000 premises with access to superfast speeds by 2019.

Gigaclear chief executive Matthew Hare said: “The internet and our access speeds have an increasing importance in our everyday lives.

“Gigaclear’s new fibre to the premises broadband network will not only keep up with demand today, but it is future-proofed to cope with larger upload and download requirements as we continue to use the internet more and more.

“It will make a substantial difference to the work and home lives of people living in the rural communities in Epping Forest.”

Rainier Jarman, landlord of The Nag’s Head pub in Moreton, near Ongar, has also signed up for Gigaclear’s ultrafast service.

He said: “Mobile phone reception is limited in the area and the internet speeds can be slow when many people are logged in to our wi-fi, so we’re looking forward to being able to offer our customers ultrafast broadband.

“They will be able to download a full HD film quicker than it takes to pull a pint.

“The benefits are double sided, as from a business perspective, we will be able to update The Nag’s Head website far quicker than ever before, while also using social media more to communicate with our customers.”

Work began on the Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project contract last month, with the project scheduled to complete by December 2016.

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