Fibre First Rural Programme
30 January 2020Currently over 96 per cent of premises in Cheshire West and Chester can access broadband speeds of 24Mbps or above. The first three roll-out phases were delivered across Cheshire and Warrington in partnership with Openreach and completed in June 2019. This saw almost £39m funding invested to reach an additional 106,000 premises; of which over 90,000 are now able to access superfast, or above speeds.
Openreach, the BT-owned operator of Britain’s biggest broadband network, have now announced that they are widening out their full fibre build programme to include 250,000 homes and businesses in more than 200 market towns and villages which were considered too complex or expensive to upgrade before.
Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said: “This council remains absolutely committed to ensuring that rural families can access the fastest broadband speeds and that rural communities reap the benefits of full digital inclusion. We will not give up on our ambition for Cheshire to be the best place in the UK to have a rural business and we will continue to work with our partners in Openreach to make this ambition a reality.
“This anouncement for fibre first in rural areas is really great news for residents and businesses in Chester South, Frodsham, Neston, Sandiway, Tarvin and Winsford Exchange areas, and thousands of premises in Overton, Netherton, Cuddington and Delamere Park which are being scoped for full fibre delivery. "
Openreach aims to cover at least 75 per cent of the exchange area but this is dependent on many factors. Working in partnership they will look to see what more can be done to increase coverage whilst keeping costs low to allow for further investment to be made.
Work is due to start in April, the long term plan will take up to three years to complete with the build being done in parallel with related work that Openreach has in the region.
There is limited disruption expected with no new street furniture, using the existing duct and pole network where available. Where there is a need to build new apparatus, it will be a combination of duct and pole depending on the location and in consultation with the Council’s roads and planning teams.