British Telecom’s Connecting Cheshire project has reached a milestone when its installation wing could connect more than 70,000 homes and businesses access to high-speed fiber optic broadband network. As per agreement, Connecting Cheshire, the partnership between four Cheshire councils and BT will provide fiber optic broadband to residents and businesses with speeds of up to 300 Mbps. This is the speed given by BT to the service providers. Speeds offered by service providers may vary according to the service agreements. When added to the commercial rollout by BT and other broadband providers there will be 96% coverage by the end of 2015.
The Connecting Cheshire project was launched in April 2013, and is a partnership of four councils – Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington – and BT. It is funded by £13.6m from the European Development Fund, £9m from BT, £4m from BDUK with £1.85m provided jointly from the councils.
The £28.5m project will provide fiber broadband to more than 80,000 homes and businesses. This builds on BT’s commercial investment so that 96 percent of Cheshire –around 400,000 premises – will have access to speeds of up to 80mbps by the end of 2015.
The project will reach those areas outside of any commercial broadband roll-out using a partnership approach to ensure all communities have access to the fastest possible broadband speeds. This month, the first fiber broadband cabinet in the Church Minshull exchange area was completed, making fiber broadband available to around 200 premises within the village. Further coverage in this area is expected to be completed over the summer.
Other recent areas now benefiting from superfast speeds include Malpas, Elton, Farndon, Lymm, Pickmere and Congleton. One year on from the launch of the ‘Fibre Guy’s’ marketing campaign, Connecting Cheshire has been recognized in national league tables as one of the top four of the best projects in the country in regards to take-up and demand stimulation.
The project is progressing well towards the target of making fiber optic broadband available to 80,000 premises across Cheshire. The roll-out of superfast broadband will benefit rural communities significantly. Engineers from BT’s local network business Openreach are working closely with Cheshire councils to bring faster and more efficient high speed fiber optic broadband to the residents and businesses in Cheshire.