A full fibre broadband network is to be put in place for 83 GP surgeries in West Essex and East Hertfordshire.
Essex + Herts Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) – a cross-sector partnership of service providers in the area – has commissioned the work from infrastructure provider Openreach in partnership with Capita Updata and Redcentric, funded by £1.7 million from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme.
The network will provide connections of up to 1Gbps and is scheduled to be in place by March 2021.
Epping District Council and Essex County Council have led in the development of the project, with support from Hertfordshire County Council and a group of local districts. DIZ has now begun the detailed planning and delivery stage.
It said the network will cover GP surgeries in Broxbourne, East Herts, Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford districts, and should give local healthcare providers more capacity for online services and strengthen their resilience to events such as the Covid-19 outbreak.
The network will also support the future demand for fibre broadband from residents and businesses around the surgeries.
Councillor Lesley Wagland, cabinet member for infrastructure at Essex County Council, said: “This project is a great step in improving the digital experience and opportunities for those that use and deliver our health services and to realising the significant benefits from full fibre broadband connectivity for our residents.
“Health and care services with digital services based around the patient and our local communities will be a key component of this. Full fibre broadband will help those providing the services to do so closer to where people want them but also to work better, more efficiently and in a joined up way.”
Image from iStock, Alexey Brin