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Broadband Roll-out Reaches Halfway Point

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Connecting Cheshire has now reached the halfway point in its roll-out — with more than 40,000 additional homes and businesses now able to upgrade to fibre broadband.

Communities right across Cheshire are now benefiting from speeds up to 10-times faster and residents and businesses are being urged to sign up to the new network with internet providers.

The new fibre networks have been built by Openreach, BT's network provider, on behalf of the Connecting Cheshire Partnership of the four local authorities across Cheshire (Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington borough councils) and BT, with additional funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and the European Union.

BT Openreach engineers have installed more than 200 new roadside cabinets and laid around 400 kilometres of fibre optic cable to date, often in challenging conditions underground in both urban and remote rural areas.

Areas now able to access fibre include:
Cheshire East — Alderley Edge, Disley, Poynton, Plumley and Sutton;
Cheshire West — Burton, Keslall, Kingsley, Sandiway and Weaverham;
Halton — Hale, Sandymoor, Manor Park and Widnes;
Warrington — Westbrook, Whittle Hall and Padgate.

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, on behalf of the Partnership said: "We are well on our way to reaching 96 per cent of premises and bringing a much-needed advantage to the county — both for businesses and home users.

"I urge everyone to check their availability and upgrade to faster broadband, to shop around for the best deal and take advantage of the real benefits."

To check availability visit the Connecting Cheshire website and enter either a postcode or telephone number.

Mike Blackburn, BT's regional director for the North West, said: "Cheshire businesses and homes are halfway there and it's due, in large part, to the efforts of the Openreach engineers who have worked flat out to make the network available to so many in such a short time. There is still the other half to complete but soon this vital technology will have connected communities right across Cheshire."

Sir Howard Bernstein, vice chair of the North West European Regional Development Fund local management committee, said: "This programme is already helping local businesses make the most of superfast broadband, improving performance and helping to create and safeguard jobs.

"It is providing a major boost to the Cheshire economy and the North West European Regional Development Fund* programme is pleased to be supporting it financially."

The £28.5m Connecting Cheshire project will provide fibre 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.

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