More than 15,000 premises are set to benefit from the first phase of investment in new fibre broadband networks across Cheshire, it was announced today.
From the end of March 2014 onwards, high-speed broadband will become available in more than 30 mainly outlying and rural communities across Cheshire.
During the first phase, faster fibre broadband will be available for the first time in the following communities, where the majority of homes and businesses will be able to connect to the new network:
Cheshire East Council
East of Crewe*
* These areas will also see additional fibre roll-out building on the commercial coverage in phase one.
Details of the planned roll-out were announced at a briefing held at Oulton Park, in Little Budworth, near Tarporley, attended by community representatives, councillors, business leaders and digital champions from around Cheshire.
The £28.5m Connecting Cheshire broadband programme will be delivered by Openreach – BT’s local network business to bring fibre broadband to more than 80,000 additional premises.
This will build on the existing fibre networks already provided by BT’s commercial investment that will enable 96 per cent of Cheshire premises to access high speed-broadband over the lifetime of the programme.
Maps and coverage information on the Connecting Cheshire website are available to provide greater detail on the areas that can expect fibre coverage to arrive under the first phase.
Additional information is now also available showing the proposed timescales for areas in the second and third phase of the programme, which are expected to see fibre availability from summer 2014 onwards for phase two, and from winter 2014 onwards for phase three.
Bringing fibre to Cheshire is a massive engineering challenge for BT, with a team of more than 100 planners and engineers working to upgrade exchanges and networks including laying more than 875 miles of fibre-optic cable – more than the distance between Land’s End and John O’ Groats – by spring 2015. More than 400 new roadside cabinets will also be installed as a new root and branch fibre-optic network is rolled out.
Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, on behalf of the Connecting Cheshire Partnership, said: “I am delighted to announce which communities will soon be able to benefit from fibre broadband, I urge everyone to check our maps to see where and when we will be making fibre available.
“We have been working hard for more than three years to get to where we are today. This is an exciting time for Cheshire and the beginning of a journey that will see our communications landscape completely transformed. This is great news and will help boost local businesses and the creation of jobs across Cheshire.”
Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT Group, said: “This is a very exciting step forward for these communities because faster broadband can benefit everyone.
“Whether you’re a small business wanting to stay in touch with customers and suppliers, or parents with children using the internet for homework and playing games, whatever you do online, you can do it much better and faster with fibre broadband.”
“Fibre will have a significant impact on the local economy. We know, for example, that small businesses form a key part of the local economy in rural areas. Faster broadband breaks down the barriers to doing business in the digital world like online trading, which helps to empower those small businesses to find new markets, sell new products, try new models and compete on an equal footing with larger businesses.”
Sir Howard Bernstein, vice chair of the North West European Regional Development Fund local management committee, said: “This programme will help local businesses make the most of superfast broadband, improving performance and helping to create and safeguard jobs.
“It will provide a major boost to the Cheshire economy and the North West European Regional Development Fund programme is pleased to be supporting it financially.”
To view the Connecting Cheshire broadband rollout information and coverage map visit www.connectingcheshire.org.uk and click the Check Availability tab.