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 (LFFN), 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. Design work on the new networks is already underway, with the first new connections to be delivered in summer 2019.

Great business opportunity in Colchester

Currently, only 3% of UK businesses and households have access to pure-fibre, ultrafast broadband offering “gigabit” 1000Mbps (1Gbps) speeds. Businesses in Colchester town centre can already access ultrafast broadband because of the Council’s installation of a new fibre infrastructure from 2016 onwards, a project awarded for EU Broadband Award in late 2017 for innovative re-use of infrastructure and cost-reduction strategies.

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

Businesses (and residents) across the town centre have been able to access ultrafast broadband since the beginning of 2017 as part of a partnership between Colchester Borough Council and an independent network operator.

Now, Colchester is continuing with its technological advancement. The funding bid for the LFFN deployment is being managed by Colchester Amphora Trading, which will also oversee the project on behalf of Colchester Borough Council until its completion in March 2021. 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 urban Colchester, the Northern Gateway and provide links to Greenstead, Severalls Business Park and the Hythe. The networks will be expandable and it is expected that they will be capable of reaching the rural areas (which make up two-thirds) in future, as funding allows. Colchester is in talks with the Department for Culture, Media, Sport and Digital (DCMS) about a pilot programme to expand the urban networks to a number of key rural locations along the Colne Estuary in 2020.

Businesses and residents in Colchester are able to make 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 Borough Council’s website here: www.colchester.gov.uk/

Businesses interested in further information, or to pre-register interest in connecting to the networks, can get further information at: www.colchester-fibre.co.uk

[Source: Colchester Borough Council]