Month: September 2014

Superfast Paralympian welcomes superfast broadband

Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey helped celebrate the arrival of superfast broadband to two Cheshire East communities.

Disley and Poynton became the latest areas to join Connecting Cheshire’s fibre-optic fast lane.

More than 1,500 premises in Disley and 4,800 in Poynton are now able to access faster internet speeds.We’re currently running a radio advertisement in the area too [MP3 1.54mb].

This brings the total for Cheshire to more than 36,000 homes and businesses.

The Connecting Cheshire superfast fibre broadband roll-out has now also reached most of Alderley Edge, Holmes Chapel, Knutsford and Bollington.

Residents and businesses can check availability of fibre broadband in their area.

If it is available, contact your internet service provider, shop around for the best deal and order an upgrade to fibre broadband.

Connecting Cheshire is a partnership of four councils – Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington – and BT, with additional funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and the EU.

The £28.5m 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.

Disley resident Dame Sarah Storey said: “Fibre broadband will make a huge difference to us – we will be able to view and upload race and training videos much quicker, video conference our coaching clients without buffering and manage our women’s cycling team Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International more efficiently.”

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Our roll-out is already making a big impact. Many homes and businesses are now taking advantage of the opportunity to upgrade to fibre broadband and seeing how it can bring significant social and economic benefits – and, in many cases, see a reduction in their costs as broadband charges are falling all the time.”

Mike Blackburn, BT regional director for the North West, said:  “If there’s anyone who knows about superfast speeds and the importance of consistency, it’s Sarah Storey. We’re delighted she’s taken time out of her busy schedule to help launch superfast broadband in this locality. Sarah’s cycling team is now one of many Cheshire businesses that can benefit from this faster and more reliable technology.”

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.”

And following a recent Government announcement, the public sector partners within Connecting Cheshire will be working on its Superfast Extension Programme from March 2015, and looking to invest a further £4m in superfast broadband infrastructure so that even more areas are connected.

The network – being built by more than 100 planners and engineers at Openreach, BT’s local network business – will be open to all communications providers on an equal basis.

Currently, more than 140 communications providers offer fibre broadband services over BT’s network. This will enable the people of Cheshire to choose the provider and broadband package that best suits their need.

Around 875 miles of fibre-optic cable will be laid and more than 400 new roadside cabinets installed by spring 2015.

Pictured in Disley Fountain Square (left to right): Cllr David Kidd – Disley Parish Council; Cllr Harold Davenport – Disley Ward, Cheshire East Council; Dame Sarah Storey; Cllr Jackie Pattison – Disley Parish Council; Macclesfield MP David Rutley and Andrew Arditti – Connecting Cheshire.

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Has your business boomed with social media?

Connecting Cheshire is working with Cheshire’s Silk 106.9 radio station to find businesses across Cheshire East who have used social media to grow their business as part of this year’s Local Hero Awards.

The Annual Local Hero Awards are organised by Silk 106.9 and supported by Cheshire East Council and this year, Connecting Cheshire is sponsoring an award for “Business of the Year – best use of Social Media”.

The award is looking for the business that has really exploited the benefits of social media to engage with its customers – either as direct to consumers or business to business. Whether via a website, Facebook, Twitter of other routes – the Local Hero Awards wants to hear from you if your business has demonstrated how social media can be used drive growth and sales.

All businesses who enter will be invited to attend a free Connecting Cheshire Superfast Business Masterclass event that will provide businesses with the latest knowledge and tips to help their business exploit digital technology and faster broadband.

Update: The Business of the Year – best use of Social Media was awarded to Richard and the team at So Cheshire – http://www.so-cheshire.co.uk/

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