ESSEX: Superfast Essex Backs EDAs For Third Year

Superfast Essex, Essex County Council’s broadband improvement programme, is pleased to be sponsoring the Essex Digital Awards for the third year whilst continuing to extend faster broadband to over 120,000 premises in the county by 2019.

The Superfast Essex programme is to sponsor the “Online Retailer” category with the winners of all 16 categories being presented with their awards at the EDA17 Presentation Evening at Boreham House, Chelmsford, on May 18.

Superfast broadband is benefitting homes and businesses across the county and transforming the way Essex businesses operate, from enabling global enterprise to reducing costs and increasing efficiency with cloud-based services.

Superfast Essex is part of the Government’s national Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme to increase superfast broadband connectivity across the UK, led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The programme is delivering improved broadband in phases.

Phase 1 was completed three months ahead of schedule in June 2016 and saw 65,000 premises provided with access to better connectivity.

Phase 2 is currently being rolled out and so far the total number of homes and businesses able to achieve internet speeds of 24Mbps and above is 73,000.

The programme is aiming for 120,000 Essex premises to be connected to superfast broadband through their current plans with an additional Phase 3 being planned to extend broadband coverage even further.

More information about where the next phase of work will be rolled out will be announced in Spring/Summer 2017.

David Wilde, Essex County Council’s Executive Director for Place Operations and Chief Information Officer, who is also on the judging panel for EDA17, said: “The benefits of faster broadband shouldn’t be reserved for only large businesses.

“The Superfast Essex programme aims to bring improved connectivity to businesses of all sizes around Essex, helping them to make positive advancements and changes to the running of their business.

“Teaming up with the Essex Digital Awards is a natural choice for the programme and I look forward to finding out more about the nominated businesses in each category this year.”

Robin Bailey, Chairman of the Judging Panel at the Essex Digital Awards, said: “A fast broadband connection is vital to the tens of thousands of businesses based in Essex and we are delighted to be working, once again, with Superfast Essex who are rolling our broadband across the county.

“Superfast Essex is a brilliant and essential project and we are proud to be involved with it.”

In addition to providing information and tools associated with the programme rollout, the Superfast Essex website also hosts an online toolkit to help small businesses improve their digital know-how.

The Digital Toolkit contains a series of business blogs, vlogs and webinars on a range of topics including increasing online sales, attracting new customers, social media, blogging and the importance of cloud-based systems.

It also includes a Digital Health Check, to identify any areas where businesses can improve their digital expertise, and a ‘Fast Tips’ download which provides information and advice around a range of digital developments, such as cloud-based Services, Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media Marketing.

To view the Digital Toolkit and for more information on business broadband, including a short film with David Bell, Essex Chair of The Federation of Small Businesses, and Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Infrastructure and Partnerships, on broadband improvements in Essex, visit www.superfastessex.org/forbusiness.

 Find out the latest broadband rollout information for your area at www.superfastessex.org/maps. Anyone not covered by the Superfast Essex programme can check if they are eligible for inclusion in Phase 3 at www.superfastessex.org/whatshappeningnext and can register their demand for superfast broadband by completing the Make the Connection Survey at www.superfastessex.org/registerdemand.