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Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey helped celebrate the arrival of superfast broadband to two Cheshire East communities

Press Release   •   Sep 30, 2014 00:00 BST

Disley and Poynton became the latest areas to join Connecting Cheshire’s fibre-optic fast lane. More than 1,500 premises in Disley and 4,800 in Poynton are now able to access faster internet speeds. This brings the total for Cheshire to more than 36,000 homes and businesses.

The Connecting Cheshire superfast fibre broadband roll-out has now also reached most of Alderley Edge, Holmes Chapel, Knutsford and Bollington.

Residents and businesses can check availability of fibre broadband by visiting the website www.connectingcheshire.org.uk If it is available, contact your internet service provider, shop around for the best deal and order an upgrade to fibre broadband.

Connecting Cheshire is a partnership of four councils – Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington – and BT, with additional funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and the EU.

The £28.5m project will provide fibre broadband to more than 80,000 homes and businesses. This builds on BT’s commercial investment so that 96 percent of Cheshire – around 400,000 premises – will have access to speeds of up to 80mbps by the end of 2015.

Disley resident Dame Sarah Storey said: “Fibre broadband will make a huge difference to us – we will be able to view and upload race and training videos much quicker, video conference our coaching clients without buffering and manage our women’s cycling team Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International more efficiently.”

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Our roll-out is already making a big impact. Many homes and businesses are now taking advantage of the opportunity to upgrade to fibre broadband and seeing how it can bring significant social and economic benefits – and, in many cases, see a reduction in their costs as broadband charges are falling all the time.”

Mike Blackburn, BT regional director for the North West, said: “If there’s anyone who knows about superfast speeds and the importance of consistency, it’s Sarah Storey.
“We’re delighted she’s taken time out of her busy schedule to help launch superfast broadband in this locality. Sarah’s cycling team is now one of many Cheshire businesses that can benefit from this faster and more reliable technology.”

Sir Howard Bernstein, vice chair of the North West European Regional Development Fund local management committee, said: “This programme is already helping local businesses make the most of superfast broadband, improving performance and helping to create and safeguard jobs.

“It is providing a major boost to the Cheshire economy and the North West European Regional Development Fund* programme is pleased to be supporting it financially.”

And following a recent Government announcement, the public sector partners within Connecting Cheshire will be working on its Superfast Extension Programme from March 2015, and looking to invest a further £4m in superfast broadband infrastructure so that even more areas are connected.

The network – being built by more than 100 planners and engineers at Openreach, BT’s local network business – will be open to all communications providers on an equal basis.

Currently, more than 140 communications providers offer fibre broadband services over BT’s network. This will enable the people of Cheshire to choose the provider and broadband package that best suits their need.

Around 875 miles of fibre-optic cable will be laid and more than 400 new roadside cabinets installed by spring 2015.

ENDS

For further information please contact Graham Taylor at the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be found at www.btplc.com/news

Photograph captions:

1) Disley Fountain Square group, (left to right): Cllr David Kidd – Disley Parish Council; Cllr Harold Davenport – Disley Ward, Cheshire East Council; Dame Sarah Storey; Cllr Jackie Pattison – Disley Parish Council; Macclesfield MP David Rutley and Andrew Arditti – Connecting Cheshire

2) Unwrapping one of the six new Disley fibre optic broadband cabinets: Andrew Arditti, of Connecting Cheshire, and athlete Dame Sarah Storey

Notes to Editors:
About Superfast Britain
Superfast Britain is a Government investment of £1.08bn in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio comprises three linked programmes:

● £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017;
● £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities;
● £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and data network services.
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

About Connecting Cheshire
The Connecting Cheshire project was launched in April 2013, and is a partnership of four councils – Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington – and BT. It is funded by £13.6m from the European Development Fund, £9m from BT, £4m from BDUK with £1.85m provided jointly from the councils.

The £28.5m project will provide fibre broadband to more than 80,000 homes and businesses. This builds on BT’s commercial investment so that 96 percent of Cheshire –around 400,000 premises – will have access to speeds of up to 80mbps by the end of 2015.

The project will reach those areas outside of any commercial broadband roll-out using a partnership approach to ensure all communities have access to the fastest possible broadband speeds. For more information visit www.connectingcheshire.org.uk

*About ERDF
The project is part financed by the North West Competitiveness Programme, European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.gov.uk/erdf-programmes-progress-and-achievements