A £24.6m deal has been struck between Essex County Council and BT to bring high-speed broadband to homes and businesses.
By the end of summer 2016, the whole county should have access to internet speeds of at least 2Mbps while 87pc of premises will benefit from fibre optic technology.
The deal will see BT contributing £11.7m to the programme and the local authority spending £6.46m. The remaining £6.46m comes from the government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme.
Following the signing of the contract, Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of the council, said: "These upgrades will make a real difference to Essex residents and, in particular, businesses that have difficulty trading and communicating online because of slow speeds."