Thousands more rural homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire have been earmarked to get UK-leading full-fibre broadband built in their communities after County Broadband announced its latest multi-million-pound rollout plans.
East of England provider County Broadband has added 21 villages to its expanding rollout of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure in rural Cambridgeshire. The villages are located within the St Neots and Huntingdon areas.
Full-fibre delivers fibre cables directly into premises to provide gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps) that are around 11 times faster than the UK average and can be upgraded to 10,000+ Mbps in the future.
Full-fibre infrastructure provides access to gigabit speeds and superior network reliability. It is replacing existing part-copper ‘Superfast’ networks around the UK which have been declared unfit for purpose by the government. The old Victorian infrastructure is unable to keep pace with modern data demands accelerated by the pandemic such as hybrid working, business services and streaming.
County Broadband is using tens of millions of pounds of private investment from Aviva Investors to design, build and deliver full-fibre networks to thousands of premises across rural East of England.
Each village needs to give the green light to the rollout proposals before work on the estimated 18-month construction projects can begin.
In total, County Broadband is working within 56 villages in south Cambridgeshire. Of these, work has finished and the new full-fibre network has gone live in 14 villages. These communities are now benefitting from some of the fastest and most reliable speeds available in the UK.
James Salmon, Director of Sales and New Territories at County Broadband, said: “We are excited to announce our rollout plans to future-proof another 21 villages in Cambridgeshire with world-class full-fibre broadband infrastructure that will provide gigabit-speeds and bullet-proof reliability.
“As an East of England company, we are committed to helping Cambridgeshire become a flagbearer for future-ready digital connectivity. Crucially, we have secured millions of pounds of private funding to spearhead our ambitions, meaning we can start planning today to meet our growing future needs.
“Demand for home and business internet connectivity has reached a record high, partly due to the pandemic. More and more data-hungry devices require ever faster, more reliable broadband. Combined with our new online modern lifestyles, the reality is that our current part-fibre, part-copper networks simply cannot cope any longer or provide the service we all expect and require.
“Our new full-fibre infrastructure will allow residents and businesses to continue remote working, stream simultaneous 4k films, documentaries and live sport, or just simply enjoy online banking, shopping and other online services without any network disruption or frustration.
“It is also important to emphasise that building full-fibre infrastructure in rural locations at this scale is a complex task. Each project requires significant planning, resources and time. It involves the coordination of highways, landowners, civils works and advanced fibre optic engineering. That’s why the sooner we start, the sooner our future-ready full-fibre service will become available.”
The 21 villages earmarked in County Broadband’s latest rollout in Cambridgeshire are: Boxworth, Buckden, Diddington, Elsworth, Eltisley, Grafham, Graveley, Great Paxton, Great Staughton, Hail Weston, Hilton, Knapwell, Lolworth, Midloe, Offord Cluny, Offord D’Arcy, Papworth St Agnes, Perry, Southoe, Toseland, and Yelling. The total number of premises is just over 6,000.
Over the coming weeks, County Broadband’s community teams will be meeting with residents and businesses in each village to explain the rollout plans in more detail and help secure local support.
Councillor Peter Balicki, Chairman of Hilton Parish Council, said: “We welcome this fantastic news that Hilton has been earmarked to receive future-ready full-fibre broadband infrastructure and benefit from the UK’s fastest gigabit speeds and far superior network reliability.
“Our current fibre to the cabinet infrastructure, which is part-fibre and part-copper, limits our broadband speeds, whilst devices are becoming more data-hungry. Many processes now rely on faster broadband speeds, which renders our current infrastructure unsustainable.
“The lockdowns and restrictions that were put in place during the past two years have highlighted just how much we now rely on reliable and fast broadband to live, work and play – from simply staying in touch with loved ones to home entertainment and working from home.
“The construction of a new full-fibre broadband network in our village is the only way we can receive the internet speeds and reliability our residents need and we look forward to working with County Broadband’s teams and learning more about their plans to future-proof our village.”
Councillor Paul Goodyer, Vice-Chairman of Great Paxton Parish Council, said: “This is fantastic news that our village has been earmarked to get UK-leading full-fibre broadband infrastructure built, so that we can join the Premier League of broadband villages.
“Our residents and businesses need faster speeds and better network reliability today, let alone in the future, to support the new work from home culture, provide unlimited streaming entertainment, and support local business innovation.
“We now need to come together and ensure there is sufficient local demand. We therefore look forward to welcoming County Broadband’s teams into our community and learning more about their rollout plans for Great Paxton.”
The government is relying on privately funded, local full-fibre providers like County Broadband to help meet its flagship target of providing nationwide gigabit speeds by 2030 as part of its levelling up agenda.
Residents and businesses can register their interest at www.countybroadband.co.uk to help ensure the sign-up requirement to build the infrastructure is reached. People can also use the online postcode checker tool to see if they’re covered in any of the rollouts.