The Connecting Cheshire programme has reached another milestone by ensuring more than 80,000 homes and businesses have access to high-speed fibre broadband.
Six more Cheshire East parishes have recently gone live and the £6m phase two programme will see a further 10,000 properties connected by summer 2017.
Prestbury, Smallwood, Bunbury, Faddiley, Marton Heath and Wistaston have now joined the high-speed club as Connecting Cheshire passes its original 80,000 connections target, ending the frustration many customers experience with slow broadband speeds.
The news from Connecting Cheshire follows the Government announcement that is nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now passed more than three million UK homes and businesses.
The rollout is on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 and is now reaching around 5,000 additional properties each day.
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “We are transforming the digital landscape of the UK and our nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached an additional three million UK homes and businesses.
“I congratulate Connecting Cheshire on reaching this milestone. They are making incredible progress.”
The Leader of Cheshire East Council, Cllr Michael Jones said: “This additional broadband coverage we have brought to the region, is already making a big impact and helping to keep Cheshire businesses competitive.
“More coverage is coming soon in our phase two rollout so that we can reach event more premises, especially those in our outlying, rural areas.”
Mike Blackburn, BT regional director for the North West, said: “I am delighted that we have hit the original target of providing fibre broadband to 80,000 homes and business premises across Cheshire.
“We are continuing with the rollout so that many more users can access the benefits that high-speed broadband can deliver to homes, families and the business community.”
“BT’s multi-billion pound investment in superfast broadband through its partnerships, including Connecting Cheshire and its own commercial programme, has already made fire broadband available to more than 23 million homes and businesses nationwide and the number is continuing to grow rapidly.
“Our engineers are rolling out the technology at a world class pace, reaching thousands more premises every week.”
Connecting Cheshire is one of many partnerships across the country rolling out high-speed broadband to those communities not included in the private sector’s commercial fibre broadband plans.
High-speed broadband users in Cheshire can achieve download speeds of up to 80 megabits and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*.
One business reaping the benefits is Bongo’s Rock & Roll Pickles, based in Norley, founded by former Tears for Fears drummer Manny Elias.
Bongo and his wife, the actress Debs Elias, make chilli pickles and chilli condiments.
She said: “Slow broadband was holding the business back and turning us into internet monsters! With less than 1Mbps we were rarely able to update the website or make much use of social media.
“Since getting fibre, we have been able to establish an e-commerce shop on the website and develop a strong social media presence with blogs, videos and customer reviews.
“This is really helping us to grow the business.”
The £28.5m partnership between four Cheshire councils, BT, the Government and the European Regional Development Fund, was launched in April 2013.
It is anticipated that 96 per cent of the county will benefit from fibre by the end of 2015.
To check availability in your area visit the Connecting Cheshire website and enter a postcode or a telephone number: http://www.connectingcheshire.org.uk/check-availability