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Gigaclear starts work on fibre broadband network in rural Essex

Tuesday, December 1st 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Work has started on a fibre broadband network that will take ultrafast speeds to thousands of homes and businesses in rural Essex.

Gigabit broadband provider Gigaclear is installing its pure fibre cable network directly into more than 4,500 premises in the east of Epping Forest Direct as part of the £7.5m Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project.

Members of the Superfast Essex team, including representatives from Essex County Council, Epping Forest District Council and Gigaclear, marked the occasion as diggers started work in Ashlyns Lane, Moreton.

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

Parts of Abbess Beauchamp and Berners Roding, Bobbingworth, Fyfield, High Ongar, Moreton, Ongar, Stanford Rivers, and Willingale are due to be included in the first phase of work, set to take place between now and May 2016.

Gigclear won the contract for the Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project in June this year.

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 technology to provide 116,000 premises with access to superfast speeds by 2019.

Councillor Penny Channer, Essex County Council’s deputy cabinet member for economic growth, who is also chairman of the Superfast Essex steering board, said: “It is great to see the plans for our rural pilot project starting to come to life.

“This will make a tremendous difference to residents and businesses in this area.

“Well done to the team for their continuing hard work to keep everything on track. I look forward to seeing the results.”

'Futureproof communications'

Gigaclear chief executive Matthew Hare said: “By installing a new fibre-to-the-premises network we are giving residents and businesses in the Epping Forest District internet speeds that will transform their online experience, meaning working from home, running a business, studying, being entertained and play will now be possible for all.

“Living in a rural area doesn’t mean you have to tolerate bad broadband, and we’re here working with the Superfast Essex team and Epping Forest District Council to futureproof communications within the Epping Forest District.

“Gigaclear’s pure fibre service will deliver internet speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, 40 times faster than the UK average, for everyone connected.”

Gigaclear and Superfast Essex are holding local events to provide further information to those who will have access to the service, where residents and businesses will have the chance to ask questions about the project.

Councillor Alan Lion, portfolio holder responsible for technology and support services at Epping Forest District Council, said: “Today is a milestone for the area.

“Installing this ultrafast technology from Gigaclear will make a momentous change to the work and home lives of residents when the network goes live.

“We’re excited for the possibilities this creates and looking forward to seeing these rural communities thrive as a result.”

Pictured are Cllr Penny Channer, Essex County Council deputy cabinet member for economic growth and chairman of Superfast Essex Steering Board; Connie Kerbst, Superfast Essex senior programme manager, Essex County Council; James Walker, Gigaclear delivery manager Cllr Alan Lion, portfolio holder for technology and support services, Epping Forest District Council.

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