Announcement welcomed by Minister as ‘great news for local households and businesses’
Additional super-fast broadband has arrived in Holmes Chapel, Connecting Cheshire announced today.
Around 300 homes and businesses now have access to the high-speed technology as the first cabinet to be funded by the project was ‘switched on’, in Holmes Chapel, by community, BT and Connecting Cheshire representatives.
The switch on is part of a national initiative, which sees green fibre broadband cabinets in many parts of the country ‘going live’ simultaneously today. “Super Switch On Day” marks the progress of super-fast broadband partnerships with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) – the government agency providing £780 million in public funding to extend super-fast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.
Holmes Chapel is just one of a number of towns and villages up and down the country that today join the 250,000 premises in mostly rural locations around the UK that are already enjoying access to faster fibre broadband speeds as a result of the BDUK programme. The national rollout is accelerating, with many projects already ahead of schedule. Already 10,000 premises per week are gaining access to high speed fibre broadband, and this will increase to 25,000 per week in spring 2014, ramping up to 40,000 per week by summer 2014.
Cheshire is one of 19 out of 44 BDUK partnerships across the UK that today have ‘live’ fibre broadband cabinets.
Connecting Cheshire, a partnership between 4 Cheshire councils and BT, builds on BT’s own commercial roll-out of fibre broadband in the county so that 96 per cent of homes and businesses will have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2015.
Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, on behalf of the Connecting Cheshire Partnership said: “This is an important step forward. High-speed access to the internet has never been more important whether you are a local businessperson wishing to build your company, a student taking advantage of on-line training and carrying out research or a householder making use of on-line shopping and entertainment. In today’s rapidly moving world, fast and sophisticated communications are absolutely vital. They are an essential part of future success.”
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The switching on of super-fast broadband in Holmes Chapel, is great news for both local residents and businesses. Today’s announcement is just part of a transformation of broadband services happening throughout the UK. Broadband is an essential part of Cheshire’s present and future. It is vital that we embrace this latest generation of technology in order for our economy to remain competitive.”
Holmes Chapel will be joined by more than 15,000 homes and businesses across the county who will have access to high speed fibre broadband speeds in the coming months as a result of Connecting Cheshire’s first phase deployment project.
BT is contributing £9m towards the local fibre deployment whilst The Connecting Cheshire Partnership is contributing £1.85m, with a further £4m coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds and £13.6m from European Regional Development Funds (ERDF)*
Mike Blackburn, BT's Regional Director for the North West added: “All over the country fibre broadband is changing people’s lives. It provides a digital gateway to a wealth of opportunities whether it is supporting how we work, how we learn, how we communicate with friends and family, or how we entertain ourselves.
“Access to high-speed broadband is rapidly becoming a key ingredient for economic growth and is also a major determining factor in where businesses decide to locate.
“Fibre broadband opens up a whole raft of leading edge software applications that could benefit business – allowing them to work more efficiently, for people to work when and where they want to, to expand their business offerings and to connect with customers, not just locally but all over the world.”
The benefits are also considerable for businesses, who can do much more with their broadband connection and in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office.
The additional fibre broadband coverage has been enthusiastically welcomed by local businesses on the nearby business park, including Morreys Hardware, This Little Piggy Went and The Stove Yard.
Morreys of Holmes Chapel
Morreys are an independent family-run hardware and DIY store - a third generation family business that has been trading for over 150 years in Holmes Chapel. Having only recently relocated from the high-street to the nearby business park, they are keen to move with the times and exploit the benefits of faster broadband and digital technology.
Andrew Maddock, Morreys Manager said: “The arrival of fibre broadband will be the catalyst for us to really make the most of e-commerce and to reach more customers but retain the high standard of customer service that we have always offered. We have already seen the benefits of using social media to help us promote via Facebook some of the long forgotten stock we found when we moved premises and I’m amazed at how much interest there’s been in stuff we thought no one could possibly want such as old mower blades and spare parts.”
The Stove Yard
The Stove Yard is one of the UK's leading retailers of Wood Burners and Multi-fuel Stoves. Having begun life in Cheshire as an online retailer they currently have two specialist stove showrooms, one in Holmes Chapel and one in Northern Ireland.
Marketing Director and founder Geoff Royle said: “Broadband speeds on our business park have been getting particularly slow as more companies move to internet trading, so the boost in speed and service continuity we'll all receive from fibre will be a huge benefit. The Stove Yard is investing heavily in e-commerce and being able to update our three websites quickly will save time and enable us to be much more efficient and responsive to customer expectations. Video content is extremely important to us now so uploading these speedily to show customers our stoves in action is not only a great sales tool but reinforces our internet credibility and with it customer trust."
This Little Piggy Went
Mark Tyson and his wife Jayne run a family catering business specialising in hog roasts and all types of outside catering including weddings, business catering and street food markets for 30 to 600 guests.
Mark said: “We’re just too busy to spend time on lots of paperwork, so we developed our own paperless ordering and invoice system using the cloud. Our online ordering and enquiry facility feeds into our iPads and iPhones by Wifi so I can always pick up orders wherever I’m working. Fibre broadband will really speed this all up allowing us to spend more time with our family and provide a more efficient service to our customers.”
Openreach engineers will install the fibre network which will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis. Households and businesses will therefore benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices.
Notes to editors
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, following the signing of the contract between four Cheshire councils (Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Halton Borough Council and Warrington Borough Council) and BT, which will see a total fibre broadband investment in the county of around £28.5m.
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
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