Connecting Cheshire announces multi million pound broadband boost for more communities

40 per cent take up of high-speed service results in investment to extend fibre broadband roll-out In just three years 600 new fibre cabinets and 1,000 miles of fibre cable have been installed to reach more than 92,000 homes and businesses

Many more communities in Cheshire are set to benefit from the roll-out of superfast broadband thanks to strong demand by local households and businesses.More than 40 per cent of customers in the Connecting Cheshire area have already chosen to take-up the high-speed technology, triggering a ‘gainshare’ award under the terms of the contract with BT to be used to further extend the fibre roll-out.

More than 6,000 premises have just been added to the Connecting Cheshire phase three roll-out plans for 2017 and 2018. As a result of the high take up there is a Gainshare contribution of £3.34m, making a total of £4.3 million including a further BT Investment.

It is expected that around 5,400 of the 6,000 premises will receive superfast speeds of more than 24Mbps and the work is projected to be completed by summer 2018.

Maps are available giving an indication of proposed coverage. It should be noted that detailed surveys and planning have yet to be completed, so this information, together with any timescales, may change. Proposed coverage includes Mottram St. Andrew, Swettenham, Aston near Frodsham, Hatton near Warrington and Manor Park in Halton. See: www.connectingcheshire.org.uk/maps

Public drop-in briefing events on the roll-out will be held on the following dates:

6th March – Tarporley Village Hall 5 – 7pm

8th March – Orford Centre, Warrington 5 -7pm

16th March – Holmes Chapel Library 5 – 7pm

The project has made fibre broadband available to more than 92,000 homes and businesses in Cheshire over the past three years, installing 600 green fibre broadband cabinets and 1,000 miles of underground fibre cable – enough cable to stretch from Crewe to Rome!

Councillor David Brown, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Under its initial contract with BT, the Connecting Cheshire programme receives a dividend if take-up reaches a certain point. As this has been achieved, the money will be used to extend the network to areas previously outside the planned coverage area - which is great news.

“Investing public money in fibre broadband helps sustain our rural communities and maintains Cheshire’s competitive edge as a business destination. It also allows homeowners to do things that need a faster internet connection like accessing skills and learning, entertainment and other social connections.”

Tony Morgan, BT’s programme director, said: “The Connecting Cheshire programme is going from strength to strength. We are seeing strong take-up of fibre broadband across the county and this is helping us reach even more communities.

“BT is committed to rolling out this transformational technology as far as possible. Together with our commercial rollout, more than 96 per cent of homes and businesses across the county are now able to access fibre broadband.”

To check availability in your area visit www.connectingcheshire.org.uk

All of the engineering work for Connecting Cheshire is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business. This means residents and businesses with access to fibre broadband can choose from a wide range of internet service providers and benefit from competitive pricing and products.

To find out if they can upgrade to fibre broadband, local residents and businesses need to speak to their internet service provider to order an upgrade as they will not automatically be upgraded.

Connecting Cheshire is managed by Cheshire East Council’s arms-length Skills and Growth Company.


For further information

Contact Janet Hare in the BT North West Regional Press Office

Tel: Direct when phoning from the NW 0800 085 0660.If phoning from outside the NW ring 01244 316 417Email:janet.hare@bt.com

All our news releases can be found at www.btplc.com/news

Notes to Editors:

Photo caption – An Openreach engineer working on the Connecting Cheshire project

About Superfast Britain

Superfast Britain is a Government investment of £1.08bn in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio comprises three linked programmes:

● £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017;

● £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities;

● £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and data network services.

Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

About Connecting Cheshire

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. Its Phase 1 £25m roll-out has been funded by £13.6m from the European Development Fund, £6.4m from BT, £4m from BDUK with £1.85m provided jointly from the councils. A £6m Phase 2 project will reach a further 10,000 premises by summer 2017.

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. For more information visit www.connectingcheshire.org.uk

About ERDF

The project is part financed by the North West Competitiveness Programme, European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.gov.uk/erdf-programmes-progress-and-achievements

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services.BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com