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16 October 2014, 06:00
£13m of public money's about to be spent connecting more of Essex to super-fast broadband.
Now, it's time for those without it, to suggest their communities should be next to benefit.
Over the next four weeks, the county council wants to hear where Phase 2 should get the new connections, which would add 55,000 homes to the 10,000 already in place.
Essex County Council says: "The latest milestone represents a sixth of the overall connections expected from the current two-year implementation programme. It comes as a public consultation opens today about the area which will form the basis of the second rollout phase.
Over the next four weeks broadband providers and members of the public have the opportunity to comment on the proposed 'White Area', which will be used to design the broadband network extension for Phase 2. The purpose of the consultation is to make sure the map is accurate and invite comments about the scope that has been identified.
The current programme, combined with the commercial rollout, is working to make superfast broadband available to over 87% of Essex premises by the end of summer 2016. Phase 2 aims to take superfast broadband coverage in Essex up to 95%, using new public investment of up to £13m. It will help to contribute to achieving the Government's ambition to get 95% of the UK connected to superfast broadband by the end of 2017.
To help ensure the new public investment is targeted in the correct areas, the County Council has defined the "White Area" using information obtained from broadband suppliers through an Open Market Review about their existing broadband provision and plans over the next three years.
The White Area does not represent the area of Phase 2 deployment. It represents where improved broadband infrastructure is required. From the White Area, we will identify where the public investment for Phase 2 will be spent.
Broadband providers and members of the public can view the detailed consultation document and ways to respond on the Essex Insight portal at this link: http://surveys.essexinsight.org.uk/TakeSurvey.aspx?PageNumber=1&SurveyID=n20L5l2&Preview=true
The consultation will close at noon on Friday 14th November. The County Council will consider all responses from broadband suppliers before finalising the Intervention Area."
General comments from the public will also be taken into account during subsequent work to plan the implementation of Phase 2, which is expected to start deployment in 2015.