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Good practice: Colchester Business Broadband, UK

“Colchester Business Broadband” is one of the five winners of the European Broadband Awards 2017 competition. Colchester's open access passive fibre network delivers up-to-gigabit connectivity to more than 850 SMEs and 1.100 households in a previously underserved area of Colchester, UK. The project implemented a highly cost-effective deployment method, as it upgraded the existing CCTV infrastructure. It is estimated that this deployment model reduces the costs to 15%. The project costs of circa EUR 0.6 million were financed from regional and local public funds.

Illustration of the Colchester Business Broadband, UK

European Commission

“Colchester Business Broadband” is one of the five winners of the European Broadband Awards 2017

Modernisation of the existing CCTV infrastructure

“Colchester Business Broadband” is the winner in the category 2: Cost reduction and co-investment in a future proof infrastructure. The project modernised the existing CCTV infrastructure and included innovative deployment measures to simplify the logistical issues. The deployment of the network was carried out at an estimated 15% of the cost of deploying a comparable infrastructure from scratch, by repurposing (and upgrading, where necessary) the extensive CCTV infrastructure owned and operated by the Council. The wide reach of this infrastructure, which includes extensive duct runs, street chambers, cabinets and wall-mounted connection/power boxes, meant that almost all locations within the town centre deployment area could be reached by final fibre drops not exceeding 100 meters. Wall-mounted distribution boxes for the final drops were installed as “primary” and “secondary distribution nodes” as a way of avoiding having to carry out expensive and bureaucratically cumbersome street/pavement works.

What was achieved?

The deployed network is highly future proof. The physical infrastructure is adequately protected in telecoms-grade ducting and sub-ducting with high impact resistance, with no core infrastructure exposed in a way that would heighten vulnerability to vandalism or accidental damage. The fibre deployment is designed in a way to ensure resilience and continuity of service to end-users in the event of inadvertent service disruption arising from third-party actions.

The network is capable of providing up to 10 Gbps symmetrical connectivity to all premises within the deployment footprint. The project has made pure fibre connectivity to the premises in Colchester town centre available for the first time, at end-user prices 40-60% below the comparable leased line/private circuit solution offered before. It will play a crucial role in attracting new creative and digital businesses, with another of the Council’s recent projects, the town centre-based Creative Business Centre, being the first to offer gigabit fibre-to-the-desk in the town centre.

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<p>High-speed broadband is an essential requirement for the very large majority of Colchester businesses and it is important to keep up-to-date with such key technology.</p>