Demand for high-speed fibre broadband soars with Connecting Cheshire

Connections more than double over last 18 months

More people in Cheshire are signing-up for high-speed fibre broadband than ever before thanks to the work of Connecting Cheshire.

Connecting Cheshire – a multi-million pound partnership between four local councils and BT – has made fibre-optic broadband technology available to around 85,000 homes and businesses across the county.

And figures announced today show the number of households and businesses using the faster connections in the Connecting Cheshire area more than doubled in the past 18 months with 35 per cent now signed up to a fibre broadband package compared to 17 per cent just a year and a half ago.

One community which has seen significant additional coverage and strong take-up is Northwich, where 13 new roadside fibre cabinets have now been installed, covering some 1,250 homes and businesses. In some areas of the town, more than 80 per cent of people have chosen to take up the service – and the number is still rising.

Visiting the latest fibre broadband cabinet to ‘go live’ in the town, Graham Evans, MP for Weaver Vale, said: “In today’s digital society, fast broadband is absolutely essential for businesses and families alike. This new cabinet is another step in the right direction with many more homes and businesses now able to access this vital technology.

“I have long campaigned to ensure that everyone in Weaver Vale has access to superfast fibre broadband and I will continue to champion this at every level of Government.”

Councillor Brian Clarke Cabinet Member - Economic Development and Infrastructure for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Fibre broadband is transforming the lives of people across Cheshire. So much we do these days relies on a fast internet connection whether we’re at home or at work.

“And demand for better, faster broadband in Cheshire is clear – in the past 18 months twice as many homes and businesses have signed-up to use the new technology installed as part of the Connecting Cheshire programme.”

Tony Morgan, BT’s programme director, said: “We are delighted the rollout in Cheshire is proving to be so popular. It’s great to see the benefits of all the hard work of the programme coming to life through the number of people who are now taking advantage of the high speeds. The technology really does have the ability to transform the way people and businesses use the internet.

“Together with BT’s commercial rollout, more than 96 per cent of homes and businesses across the county are now able to access fibre broadband.”

Fibre broadband helps make everything happen online much faster than a standard broadband connection. The technology offers download speeds up to 80Mbps. To check availability in your area visit www.connectingcheshire.org

All of the engineering work as part of 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 residents or businesses can upgrade to fibre broadband they need to speak to their service provider, they will not automatically be upgraded.


Photo Caption

Cutting the ribbon on the latest cabinet in Northwich were: Graham Evans MP for Weaver Vale, joined by Tony Morgan, Contract Director, BT Group, and local ward Councillors Helen Weltman, Sam Naylor and James Pearson.

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:

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 £28.5m roll-out has been funded by £13.6m from the European Development Fund, £9m 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