Month: January 2017

Connecting Cheshire’s broadband boost for more communities

Many more communities in Cheshire are set to benefit from the roll-out of superfast broadband – thanks to strong demand for the high-speed fibre technology by local households and businesses.

More than 40 per cent of customers in the Connecting Cheshire area have already chosen to take-up the service, triggering a ‘Gainshare’ award under the terms of the contract with BT to be used to further extend the fibre roll-out.

More than 6,000 premises have just been added to the Connecting Cheshire phase three roll-out plans for 2017 and 2018. As a result of the high take up there is a Gainshare contribution of £3.34m, making a total of £4.3 million including a further BT Investment.

It is expected that around 5,400 of the 6,000 premises will receive superfast speeds of more than 24Mbps and the work is projected to be completed by summer 2018.

Maps are available giving an indication of the proposed coverage. It should be noted that detailed surveys and planning have yet to be completed, so this information, together with any timescales, may change. Proposed coverage includes Mottram St. Andrew, Swettenham, Aston near Frodsham, Hatton near Warrington and Manor Park in Halton. See:  www.connectingcheshire.org.uk/maps

 

Public drop-in briefing events on the roll-out will be held:
6th March – Tarporley Village Hall 5 – 7pm

8th March – Orford Centre, Warrington 5 -7pm

16th March – Holmes Chapel Library 5 – 7pm

 

The project has delivered fibre broadband to more than 92,000 homes and businesses in Cheshire over the past three years, installing 600 green fibre cabinets and 1,000 miles of fibre cable in the ground – enough cable to stretch from Crewe to Rome!

Councillor David Brown, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Under its initial contract with BT, the Connecting Cheshire programme receives a dividend if take-up reaches a certain point. As this has been achieved, the money will be used to extend the network to areas previously outside the planned coverage area – which is great news.

“Investing public money in fibre broadband helps sustain our rural communities and maintains Cheshire’s competitive edge as a business destination. It also allows homeowners to do things that need a faster internet connection, like accessing skills and learning, entertainment and other social connections.”

Tony Morgan, BT’s programme director, said: “The Connecting Cheshire programme is going from strength to strength. We are seeing strong take-up of fibre broadband across the county and this is helping us reach even more communities.

“BT is committed to rolling out this transformational technology as far as possible. Together with our commercial rollout, more than 96 per cent of homes and businesses across the county are now able to access fibre broadband.”

To check availability in your area visit www.connectingcheshire.org.uk

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 internet service provider to order an upgrade as they will not automatically be upgraded.

Connecting Cheshire is managed by Cheshire East Council’s arms-length Skills and Growth Company.

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Free digital skills training sessions at Crewe Library

Connecting Cheshire is joining forces with Bentley Motors to provide digital skills sessions at Crewe Library.

Designed for anyone who wants to learn how to make the most of the internet and using their laptop, tablet, PC or smartphone, the one-hour workshops at Crewe Lifestyle Centre offer a relaxed and friendly way to gain confidence and new skills.

The sessions are designed to increase residents’ digital skills and to help them feel confident about using computers.

Connecting Cheshire, which is managed by the council’s arms-length Skills and Growth Company, has worked with Bentley to deliver the sessions as part of a digital inclusion programme launched six months ago.

A team of enthusiastic Bentley graduates, undergraduates and apprentices host the sessions, followed by an afternoon drop-in session to help residents use their devices. The Bentley trainees undertake volunteer work as part of their workforce development.

The topics for the next three sessions at the library are:

  • January 16, 10am-11am – Learning more about eBay
  • February 20, 10am-11am – An introduction to social media
  • March 20, 10am-11am – The ‘internet of things’

To make a booking, call Crewe Library on 01270 375295 or book online at:

www.eventbrite.co.uk and search under ‘Connecting Cheshire’.

Councillor George Hayes, chairman of the Skills and Growth Company, said: “Digital skills have become essential for everyone, regardless of age or occupation. These sessions provide a great opportunity to gain experience and confidence in a supportive and informal learning environment.”

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