A RURAL broadband provider is looking to increase its workforce by a third before the end of the year in a bid to become a major player in the technology sector.

County Broadband, based in Aldham, has had an extremely successful 2019, quadrupling its number of employees from 16 at the start of the year to 60.

Looking forward, the business plans to continue growing its workforce to become a 79-strong team by the end of December.

The growth follows a £46 million private investment from Aviva Investors in 2018 to support the firm's rollout of hyperfast full fibre broadband to rural East Anglia.

Lewis Simington, human resources manager, said: "It’s fantastic to be part of a rapidly-expanding team and compared to even six months ago, we’re unrecognisable.

"With the current economic uncertainty, it’s reassuring and a huge boost to the economy to be part of firm on an exciting growth journey, delivering an important new service to local communities.

"We have just launched a seven-year business plan and 2020 will be the year when we really start coming into our own.

“I think the ambition is to become a major player, both in the region and in the national technology sector – flying the flag for Essex and the east of England.

"We are realistic about where we are now but we do have big plans for the future.”

The new recruits have primarily come from Colchester and the surrounding areas, in roles like apprenticeships and engineering technicians.

David Burch, director of policy with Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: "Having access to an efficient and fast broadband network is an absolute essential for success today and we congratulate County Broadband for the work they are doing to ensure that businesses across the east of England, and especially in Essex, will be able get just that.

“The key to their success is their willingness to work with local communities to identify needs and deliver them.”

County Broadband aims to provide connection access to around 40,000 premises by the end of 2020.

Visit www.countybroadbandfibre.co.uk.