The disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic isn't stopping the broadband industry from rolling out new ultrafast networks, and one provider has been highlighting the work it's doing in the south of England.
Rural broadband specialist Gigaclear has announced that its network in Essex has now surpassed 10,000 homes and businesses, which means users in previously underserved areas are now able to access download speeds of up to 900Mbps.
At the same time, the company has also been expanding its reach in the south-west, where it has connected nearly 1,000 rural properties to fast full fibre in the last month.
Chief executive of the company Gareth Williams said that as its work is considered essential by the government, Gigaclear intends to continue maintaining, building and installing new customers wherever it is safe to do so.
"Never has connectivity been more important for the communities we have built to and those we are still working to reach," he continued. "Following guidance to take additional precautions and physical distancing, Gigaclear field-based employees and our contractor partners are continuing work in communities where possible and safe to do so."
In Essex, more than 122,000km of trench has been dug to install fibre network cables, with the latest rural locations to receive access to full fibre services including 37 addresses in Epping Forest District, 517 addresses in Braintree District and 99 addresses in Uttlesford District.
However, the work is far from complete, as the company plans to connect another 20,000 hard-to-reach premises across the county in the coming months.
In the south-west, the newly-connected properties are in some of the remotest areas of Devon and Somerset, some of which previously struggled to achieve speeds of even 1Mbps.
Gigaclear has continued to work in the region despite the premature termination of its contract with local Building Digital UK (BDUK) partner Connecting Devon and Somerset in 2019.
Jo Scarrott, south-west general manager at Gigaclear, said: "We made the decision to continue building our network in the south-west without support from the local BDUK partner because the people of rural Devon and Somerset want to be connected to ultrafast internet.
"I’m so glad we chose to stay because otherwise these 966 properties would've been stuck without any connectivity or low speeds at the worst possible time."