Thurrock Council has gone public with plans for the roll out of a full fibre broadband infrastructure across south Essex.
Its cabinet has approved a workstream as part of the Thurrock 2050: A Smart Place programme, which includes connecting 129 sites in the surrounding area, including 78 within Thurrock.
This follows the award of a £4.4 million grant to the programme from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
It will be the first large scale project for the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA), a consortium of seven councils working together on infrastructure and strategic issues.
The network will be procured through the Suffolk Cloud Partnership Agreement, which involves a contract between Suffolk County Council and MLL Telecom for the delivery of full fibre networks.
It will also provide for dark fibre connectivity, enabling local businesses to connect to unused parts of the network.
Councillor Robin Gledhill, chair of ASELA, said: "In this digital age and during the current coronavirus pandemic, it is more crucial than ever that residents and businesses have the best possible connectivity and this infrastructure programme is a vital step in enabling gigabit broadband across the borough.
"These works deliver some of the fastest broadband connections in the UK to schools, community services and care facilities across south Essex. The power of connectivity is continuing to shape the way we work, live and play more than ever, and so it is very important that we continue to lead and innovate in the future.
"The work that ASELA has already undertaken shows the very positive impact that collaborative working and talking across district and borough boundaries can have for the residents of south Essex."
Image by Steve Johnson, CC BY 2.0