cabinetThe word Broadband does have different meanings, the most common usage is to describe any kind of fast Internet connection, which is what I'm going to talk about here. Essex is one of the better places for broadband access in the UK but in my experience I have visited a number of households with very slow internet access either due to their distance from the exchange, line quality or line quality (of telephone extension sockets) in the individual's house. Quite a discrepancy exists between what speeds the ISPs are advertising and what the end consumer is actually receiving.

Things are improving though, on the 18/01/2010 Chelmsford was one of the first UK towns on the list for BT's new Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) broadband infrastructure upgrade, BT Infinity is the marketing name for it. FTTC involves BT laying fibre optic cable from an exchange in town to the green street cabinets, replacing the old copper wire. In theory with a VDSL connection, speeds of up to 40Mbps download and up to 10Mbps upload could be achieved. What this actually means for users in range of the exchange EACHE located in the middle of Chelmsford is that most should be connecting near 8Mbps with ASDL. Most users in Galleywood (possibly the worst area in Chelmsford for broadband) are in range to reap benefit from the FTTC upgrade.

Essex FTTC Upgrade Status:

• Barking April 2010 onwards
• Billericay April 2010 onwards
• Bishops Stortford end of December 2010
• Boreham end of March 2011
• Braintree Late Summer 2010 onwards
• Brentwood April 2010 onwards
• Chelmsford already available
• Chingford already available
• Hornchurch April 2010 onwards
• Loughton April 2010 onwards
• Romford end of December 2010
• Southend On Sea, Essex end of September 2010
• Stanford-Le-Hope April 2010 onwards
• Wanstead Late Summer 2010 onwards
• Wickford end of December 2010
• Woodford April 2010 onwards

BT are planning further roll outs in 2011 and 2012 to cover larger areas of the UK.

In my opinion the most consistent and fastest broadband connections available in Essex are with Virgin Media through their fibre optic cable infrastructure.  Speeds range from 10Mpbs to 50Mbps!

Virgin Media fibre optic cable broadband areas in Essex are:

  • Basildon
  • Birch
  • Boreham
  • Broomfield
  • Canvey Island
  • Chelmsford
  • Church Langley
  • Colchester
  • East Bay
  • Epping
  • Great Baddow
  • Great Chesterford
  • Hainault
  • Harlow
  • Highwoods
  • Laindon
  • Loughton
  • Lucy Lane North
  • Nazeing
  • North Benfleet
  • North Weald
  • Ongar
  • Saffron Walden
  • South Benfleet
  • Theydon Bois
  • Vange
  • Wickford