UK full fibre broadband coverage nears 50% as multi-million-pound investment boosts Essex rollout

UK full fibre broadband coverage nears 50% as multi-million-pound investment boosts Essex rollout

Half of UK homes are expected to have access to a full fibre broadband connection by the end of March 2023 whilst work to deliver the new state of the art digital infrastructure accelerates across Essex following a multi-million-pound investment by a local provider.


The announcement comes from the regulator Ofcom, with the 50% figure representing a significant milestone with only 6% of homes having access to full fibre broadband five years ago. It is expected the number will rise to 80% over the next two years.


Full fibre broadband delivers fibre optic cables directly to the door to achieve speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps, 11 faster than the existing Superfast networks which rely on copper cables. Demand for the technology has increased following the shift to remote working and the growth of online services which is putting pressure on the existing infrastructure.


Colchester-based provider County Broadband is building new full fibre networks in rural communities across Essex and the wider East of England region as part of a £146m private investment from Aviva Investors. The firm has committed to connect half a million premises to its network by 2027.


James Salmon, director of sales and new territories at County Broadband, said: “This is an important milestone in futureproofing the region’s connectivity but we mustn’t take our foot off the accelerator. We’ve already welcomed thousands of homes and businesses to our full fibre network but there is still a long way to go to ensure everyone has access to fast and reliable speeds. That’s why we’re rapidly expanding our multi-million-pound investment across rural parts of Essex.


“The existing copper-based networks are no longer fit for purpose and building new full fibre infrastructure doesn’t happen overnight. But once these networks are built, they can be upgraded to deliver even faster speeds over the coming years without the need for further civil engineering work.


“Full fibre broadband is real game changer but the benefits go beyond delivering a better online experience. The new infrastructure helps to get businesses online, drives productivity and boosts the overall economy. As County Broadband has grown we’ve doubled our workforce, investing in local people and skills, as we believe there is huge potential for the East of England to lead the way in the drive for nationwide full fibre connectivity.”


Full-fibre broadband uses fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure where fibre optic cables are installed directly into the premises, providing download and uploads speeds of 1,000 Mbps. It replaces fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) copper-based infrastructure on which ‘Superfast’ is based.


The government has set a flagship target to deliver nationwide gigabit-capable speeds in the UK by 2030 to boost economic growth.


Residents and businesses can check if they are covered in County Broadband’s rollout by entering their postcode at and register interest in the service.

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