The Connecting Cheshire Partnership of 4 local authorities across Cheshire is made up of Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington borough councils. The Partnership was established to deliver fibre broadband to areas hitherto outside the commercial deployment of fibre broadband. Our partnership with BT will see an additional 96,000 premises reached with fibre by summer 2018.

Project Update – At the end of 2016 Connecting Cheshire had reached over 92,000 premises with fibre as part of our Phase 1 and 2 roll-outs, and installed over 600 new cabinets and fibre distribution points. When combined with commercial providers’ coverage such as BT and Virgin, this equates to an average of 92% of Cheshire premises now able to access a superfast speed, classed by the government as 24 Mbps or above.

Current Status Phase 1 is almost complete, although later than we had hoped for, with 10 cabinets remaining out of almost 500. Phase 2 is well underway with nearly 90 cabinets now live out of a planned 199. We expect to complete Phase 2 in summer 2017 and also the remaining cabinets from Phase 1.

Phase 3 We were hoping to be able to announce the areas covered in this phase shortly, unfortunately further internal governance is required to sign-off the contract with BT, so we hope to publish this in early 2017 combined with public drop-in information events thereafter. This phase is based on a £3.4m ‘gainshare’ agreement with BT whereby revenue from increased take-up is reinvested in additional coverage.

Phase 4 An application to the Department for Communities & Local Government for a £11m Phase 4 project is being reviewed, and subject to approval we hope to be able to commence the procurement process shortly to appoint a delivery partner for this phase to reach more ‘not spots’. We also hope to provide a further business support programme and business connection vouchers as part of this phase.

Latest cabinet areas to join the fibre fast lane in December 2016… Bollington 12, Bunbury 1 & 2, Chelford 7, Great Mollington 4, Ellesmere Port 41, 54 & 57, Mickle Trafford 3, Middlewich 20, Mobberley 3, North Rode 4 & 5, Northwich 12 (pictured right), Pickmere 3, Warrington 11, 87 & 97, Widnes 80.

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