George Osborne MP praises “vital” work of Cheshire project as broadband boost brings Christmas cheer

96 per cent of Cheshire homes can access fibre broadband 40 per cent of households and businesses have already signed up to the technology

The Connecting Cheshire partnership has delivered some Christmas cheer to more rural communities.Bunbury and Pickmere are the latest to benefit from the Connecting Cheshire rollout, which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme with more than 1,300 homes and businesses now able to access fibre in each exchange area.

Other communities where fibre broadband has recently gone live include parts of Bollington, Chelford, Great Mollington, Mickle Trafford, Mobberley, North Rode and Warrington.

Rt Hon George Osborne, MP for Tatton, said: “I’ve been a huge supporter of getting high speed broadband for my constituents. It allows people to work where they want and brings entertainment and knowledge to people and families at home. It’s no exaggeration to say that it is an essential part of modern life. This project is vital for the local, and indeed national, economy. “

Cllr George Hayes, chairman of the Skills and Growth Company, which manages the project on behalf of Cheshire East Council, said: “Over the past three years, the Connecting Cheshire project has reached over 92,000 premises with faster broadband, and take-up by local households and businesses has now passed 40 per cent, which demonstrates the project’s economic and social value. Given its success to date, we look forward to continuing the roll-out to even more communities.”

Tony Morgan, programme director for BT, which is investing £6.4 million in the project, said: “This is a great time of year to get high-speed broadband. At this busy time, we rely on the internet more than ever to get things done. Whether it’s working from home, running a business, doing homework or internet shopping – everything is easier and faster with fibre broadband.

“Together with BT’s commercial rollout, more than 96 per cent of Cheshire homes and businesses can now access fibre broadband.”

Fibre broadband helps make everything happen online much faster than a standard broadband connection. The technology offers download speeds typically several times faster than standard broadband. This faster and more reliable technology is allowing businesses to work more efficiently in new ways, such as having the ability to work from home.

Residents and businesses choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (80Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*.

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.


Photo Caption

Cutting the ribbon on the latest cabinet in Pickmere were: Rt Hon George Osborne, MP for Tatton, with Parish and Ward Councillors.

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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 £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