Today, the internet touches almost every single aspect of how we live, work, socialise, shop, and play. Throughout a strange and difficult past year, it has been our place of work, our classroom, even our refuge! It has unlocked the door to a more flexible way of living, working, and learning – bringing about many changes that are likely to stay for good. 

With this in mind, it’s safe to say that quality digital connectivity and reliable broadband is no longer a “nice-to-have” but an essential utility we simply cannot live without.

For many residents in Southend however, their infrastructure, and therefore, internet services, simply aren’t consistently fast or reliable enough to keep pace with our new digital lives.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Smarter entertainmentSmarter entertainment

This is making the transition to working, learning and entertaining from home a frustrating process – indeed, according to YouGov, unreliable internet during the first lockdown proved challenging for the third of Brits who experienced worse connectivity than usual.

So, what’s the solution?

The dropped calls, lag and slowdown that many of us are all too familiar with are all symptoms of the UK’s legacy infrastructure.

You see, around 80% of UK homes still connect to the internet via networks built for telephones – copper networks designed to carry sound, not data.

This is why CityFibre is currently investing up to £4 billion in building new networks in towns and cities across the UK, and bringing full fibre infrastructure – the best technology for the job – within reach of up to 8 million homes and businesses.

Unlike much of our existing infrastructure, our networks are designed specifically for the digital age. They take 100% fibre optic technology (full fibre) all the way from the home to the point of connection – a pristine open highway with no bumps in sight.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: City Fibre take 100% fibre optic technology (full fibre) all the way from the home to the point of connectionCity Fibre take 100% fibre optic technology (full fibre) all the way from the home to the point of connection

Why is full fibre different to what I’ve got already?

The difference between full fibre and ‘regular’ fibre is stark, and even if you think you have ‘fibre broadband’ today, the chances are there’s copper in there somewhere holding you back (top tip - if your router connects to a normal telephone socket, then that’s what you’ve got).

With full fibre enabled services, you can expect:

Increased efficiency: significantly faster speeds for upload and download. This means you can access what you want in the blink of an eye - waiting for files to download or videos to finish buffering will be a thing of the past.

No more competing priorities: near limitless bandwidth means everyone in your house can work, study, stream or game online simultaneously without a challenge.

Connectivity you can depend on: The clever design of our networks means that if there’s a break in one connection, it can instantly be rerouted via another. We’re also constantly monitoring our networks, so problems are often detected and fixed before you even notice!

Futureproofed for growing demand ­- once the fibre is in the ground, it’s there for good and maintenance work is drastically reduced. We plan twice, build once and build right.

So, can I buy this new broadband from you?

Not quite – our job is not to be the star of the show but to quickly get everything set up for the main event and make sure it all runs smoothly.  

Our networks are open access, which lets you choose from a growing list of national and local internet service providers (ISPs). Whenever we complete a section of network, ISPs ‘light it up’ with some of the fastest and best value broadband packages available (high speed needn’t mean high cost).

Sounds great, when can I get it?

The good news is that work is already well underway in Eastwood Park, Victoria, St. Lukes and parts of Belfairs Garden and Southchurch to bring full fibre services within reach of nearly every home and business locally.

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Already, thousands of Southend residents are able to benefit, with Gigafast broadband services from Vodafone now live and available in Eastwood Park, St Lukes, Queensway parts of Belfairs and Blenhem Park with Thorpe Bay, West Shoebury, Kursall, Clifftown and Southend High Street expected to join the network soon. More new addresses are going live day by day as our work to extend the network continues through the town.

This year will also see CityFibre sponsor Southend’s Adult Community College’s ‘Digital Access for All’. This initiative aims to engage with students who are digitally excluded, giving them the opportunity to access equipment, services and skills which they can then apply to everyday life and work.

The project will provide training to develop student’s confidence in using online services. CityFibre has provided funds to cover some of the equipment needed in order to run the scheme and will also be involved in community outreach work alongside the college to reach individuals and groups who may benefit from the project.

To find out more about our full fibre network build as well as some of the work we do in local communities, visit www.cityfibre.com/SE