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Ultrafast broadband provider Gigaclear has signed a deal to roll out its 1Gb service across Essex, becoming one of the few companies to be chosen over BT to deliver a Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) contract.

As part of the Superfast Essex project, Gigaclear will provide an initial 4,500 premises in the Epping Forest area with 1000Mb Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband, which represents some of the fastest available speeds in the UK.

The deal is notable as it covers a largely rural area, and if successful, Essex County Council will consider expanding the approach to other parts of the county that are not yet earmarked for BDUK delivery.

Investment for the project will come from Gigaclear, which has signed a £7.5 million contract with the council, as well as the UK government, and Epping Forest District Council.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said the Superfast Essex programme has made "tremendous progress" in rolling out superfast broadband to rural communities.

"I'm delighted to hear that even more people and businesses in Epping Forest will now benefit from this project with Gigaclear as part of our commitment to ensure 95% of the UK has access to superfast speeds by 2017," he added.

Gigaclear CEO Matthew Hare said his company will help to deliver one of the fastest broadband networks in the UK, which will transform the internet, work, communications, entertainment and play experience for thousands of homes and businesses.

He added: "Everyone in a household or business can have enough broadband capacity to do online whatever they want, whenever they want, saving time and reducing frustration."

Work on the programme is set to begin in November this year and will be completed by December next year, although the first customers should be able to receive their service by the end of 2015.

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