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.”