Month: June 2015

Cheshire company sparks fibre broadband revolution

A small company in rural Cheshire has become a major new power behind the roll-out of faster fibre broadband across the county. Dutton Contractors Ltd, the Middlewich-based electrical specialists, won an order to connect fibre broadband cabinets and have just completed their first six months.

Their work supports the roll-out of fibre broadband as part of the Connecting Cheshire partnership between BT and four Cheshire Councils – Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, and Warrington.

During the programme, engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – need to lay new fibre optic cable and install hundreds of new road-side cabinets.

The new metal cabinets are required to connect local homes and businesses to the new fibre optic broadband network.

Each fibre cabinet then needs to be powered up, fitted with a cooling fan and connected to mains electricity before it is ‘live’ and ready to take orders.

Much of this work will be carried out by engineers from Dutton Contractors, who have been in business at their Brooks Lane site since 1974 and employ around 150 people.

Ian Lee, the firm’s commercial manager, said: “This is a very exciting development for us.

“We bring more than 40 years’ experience of working with electrical network companies, so we have the expertise to ensure this part of the complex process to connect homes and businesses to the fibre broadband network goes smoothly.

“The amount of work involved and how much time each job takes will depend on how close a particular cabinet is to the main electricity network, which can vary considerably.

“Sometimes we have to install new cabling, either underground or overhead. “Our teams have the skills to install fibre too, if that becomes a requirement in the future.”

So far the company, which has just completed the first six months of its contract, has powered more than 50 fibre cabinets, enabling around 7,500 more premises to connect to high-speed broadband.

Dan Hague, Openreach senior project manager in Cheshire, said: “I rate Duttons very highly. They have a real can do approach, good quality of work and they are good at solving problems.”

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High-speed fibre broadband now available to more than 70,000 homes and businesses thanks to Connecting Cheshire

The Connecting Cheshire project has reached another milestone by giving access to high-speed broadband to more than 70,000 homes and businesses. The partnership between four Cheshire councils and BT will provide fibre broadband to residents and businesses with speeds of up to 300mbps*.  When added to the commercial rollout by BT and other broadband providers there will be 96% coverage by the end of 2015.

This month, the first cabinet from the Church Minshull exchange was completed and is now accepting orders, providing fibre broadband to around 200 premises within the village. Further coverage in this area is expected to be completed over the summer.

Other recent areas now benefiting from superfast speeds include Malpas, Elton, Farndon, Lymm, Pickmere and Congleton.

One year on from the launch of the ‘Fibre Guy’s’ marketing campaign, Connecting Cheshire has been recognised as one of the best projects in the country in regards to take-up and demand stimulation.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council and Ward Councillor for Bunbury which includes Church Minshull said: “We are well on our way to connecting 80,000 premises across Cheshire; the roll-out of superfast broadband is going to benefit rural communities significantly; it is great to see so many people have taken up a faster broadband. We urge everyone to check their availability and upgrade to superfast broadband as it offers many fantastic benefits for your home or business.”

Mike Blackburn, BT regional director for the North West, said: “Websites that bring customers to Cheshire businesses, entertainment in the home, wi-fi on the move, time-saving financial and admin systems are all better, faster and more efficient with the introduction of high-speed fibre broadband.  Openreach engineers working closely with Cheshire councils have made a future with more connected communities a reality.”   Terry Golding, an experienced professional voiceover for TV, radio and online, recently upgraded to superfast broadband in Malpas at his home studio thanks to Connecting Cheshire. He is delighted with the difference it has made to his business:

“My broadband speed is now ten times faster, and the ability for me to finally utilise specialist broadcast IP-to-IP software means I am now able to work with many, many new clients in real time around the globe, from Chester to Canberra.”

You can check availability where you live.

*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers. Speeds offered by service providers may vary.

Photo caption left to right: Alan and Margaret Denton – Village hall Trustees, Steve Travers – BT, Alan Graham – Connecting Cheshire, Sue Challoner – Village hall Treasurer, Front: Larry Bannon – Vice Chair Church Minshull Parish Council.

Press release: High-speed fibre broadband now available to more than 70,000 homes and businesses thanks to Connecting Cheshire [PDF – 251kb]

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