Businesses and residents in Colchester are set to benefit from a £3.4m Government investment in brand-new ‘ultrafast’ broadband networks. This project means Colchester is the first authority in East Anglia to secure funding from the Government’s Local Full Fibre Network Fund, which was unveiled in early 2018.

This is a significant opportunity for creative, digital, technology and IT businesses. The ultrafast broadband connectivity investment will allow local businesses to compete at a local, national and global level. Pre-works are underway, with the network build due to start in April 2019.

Great business opportunity in Colchester

Currently, only 3% of UK businesses and households have access to ultrafast broadband of 1000Mbps (1Gbps) or higher. Businesses in Colchester town centre can already access ultrafast broadband because of the council’s installation of a new fibre infrastructure in 2016, awarded by the EU Broadband Award 2017 for good practice.

The availability of modern broadband networks will help encourage inward investment and increase the attractiveness of Colchester to data-hungry and creative businesses. Independent benchmarking indicates the project will grow Colchester’s economy by 6% — worth more than £230m.

“It is fantastic news that Colchester has been awarded this huge sum to support our plans to deliver ultrafast broadband across the borough, particularly as the digital, creative and online sectors are some of the most important drivers of innovation and growth for Colchester’s economy. Future-proofing and investment in our infrastructure is key.”

Councillor Nick Barlow
Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services
Colchester Borough Council

Future proofing Colchester

Around 900 businesses in Colchester were starting to gain access to a new ‘ultrafast’(1Gbps+) broadband network from late 2016, following a Dark Fibre roll-out deal that was signed in September 2016 between Colchester Borough Council and an independent network operator.

Now, Colchester is continuing with its technological advancement. The funding bid for the ultrafast broadband was managed by Colchester Amphora Trading, which will also oversee the project deployment on behalf of Colchester Borough Council. This is one of the highest-profile projects to have been undertaken by the council’s new commercial company, since it was established in 2018.

The new networks will cover the whole of central Colchester, the Northern Gateway and provide links to Greenstead, Severalls Business Park and the Hythe. The networks will be expandable and capable of reaching the rural areas (which make up two-thirds) in future, as funding allows.

Businesses and residents in Colchester are already making use of DCMS Connection Vouchers, which provide up to £2,500 for a business and £500 for a household to connect to gigabit-capable networks.

"We're building a Britain that's fit for the future, and our plans for a national full fibre broadband network underpin our modern Industrial Strategy. This £3.45m boost for gigabit speeds in Colchester will build on the tremendous work already being done by Colchester Borough Council and I congratulate them on what they have already achieved.”

Margot James
MP
Minister for Digital

For more information, visit Colchester’s website here: www.colchesterultraready.co.uk

[Source: Colchester Borough Council]