THE first phase of a project to rollout fibre infrastructure and link 129 sites in south Essex with next generation high speed full fibre broadband connections has proven so successful that an additional £2.5million in government funding has been awarded to nearly double the size of the scheme.
The Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) led project has already laid over 130km of full fibre across south Essex, digitally connecting 129 public sector sites including schools, GP surgeries and care homes at the very highest speeds available.
It was initially made possible thanks to a successful bid for £4.4million funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which was secured in February 2019.
After the successful delivery of the first phase an additional £2.5million funding from the Government’s “Getting Building” fund has been secured to add another 100 connections and an additional 75km of fibre infrastructure.
By March 2022 ASELA will have installed over 200km of full fibre, stretching from Purfleet-on-Thames in the west to Canewdon in the east. An investment which will not only realise opportunities for the public sector but become a key catalyst to stimulate further fibre investment to benefit communities and businesses across the region.
Cllr Chris Hossack, Chair of ASELA, said: “South Essex is a key strategic region within the UK with ambitious growth plans and a proactive attitude to delivering sustainable prosperity for its communities. There can be no doubt that digital connectivity is a key enabler to deliver on our south Essex growth plans. The fantastic success of this project is a considerable feather in our cap, we have delivered on time, in budget and fully to scope.
“The successful rollout of this network and funding to increase it further shows just what ASELA is achieving in driving the ambitions of south Essex to deliver growth for the region, contribute billions to the national economy and improve the lives and prospects of the region’s residents.”
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman, said: “We’ve already invested millions in south Essex to bring the fastest internet speeds on the market to dozens of schools, doctors’ surgeries and care homes. This extra funding boost will go even further to improve our valued public services and encourage broadband firms to build their own lightning-fast gigabit networks to surrounding homes and businesses.”