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We have invested heavily in Essex with over £13 million of central government funding allocated to support superfast rollout; local bodies and European funds have also matched this with over £13 million to the project. On the ground, delivery is managed on a day-to-day basis by Superfast Essex (http://www.superfastessex.org/) our local delivery partner. Superfast coverage in Essex has risen from under 35% in 2010 to over 91%, with current delivery continuing until March 2020 and a further procurement underway.
At Autumn Budget 2017, the Government launched a £190 million Local Full Fibre Networks challenge fund to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks. Local bodies in Essex are able to bid for funding in the current round until 26th January 2018.
We also announced £160 million at Budget for the next phase of funding for the 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme, including projects to test 5G applications and deployment on roads and the security of 5G networks. In October 2017, the Government launched a £25 million competition to select a number of 5G projects to be funded in 2018-19. We believe that we will see the best outcome for the UK if we fund the strongest projects wherever they are. The Government is engaging widely with industry, academic institutions and local areas to encourage them to submit ambitious proposals.