BT has announced that it’s been tasked with connecting 96 per cent of Cheshire to superfast broadband as part of the Connecting Cheshire project.
Over 400,000 homes and businesses across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington will be able to access fibre-based broadband services once the project is completed at the end of 2016.
Within the 96 per cent, 80,000 locations in rural areas will benefit from these superfast connections.
Read Recombu Digital’s report on BT Broadband Rollout Updates
The majority of locations in superfast areas will get FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband, while a lucky few will get the faster FTTP (Fibre to the Premises)-based lines. FTTC provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps, though the actual speed you’ll get is dependant on your distance from the street cabinet. BT FTTP provides download speeds of up to 330Mbps and doesn’t suffer from this distance difference.
Those in the remaining 4 per cent will get a basic speed providing a download speed of at least 2Mbps. This will likely be provided via traditional copper-based DSL lines or satellite broadband.
BT Openreach will now begin surveying work, which is expected to take up to eight months, with the first stage of actual digging expecting to take place in December 2013. From then it should take roughly three years to get everything done.
Bill Murphy, Managing Director, BT Next Generation Access, added: “Cheshire has a large number of small and medium sized enterprises and a high volume of business start-ups, which collectively contribute a substantial proportion of the regional economy. The rollout of more fibre broadband will act as a powerful economic driver for these businesses.”
Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, on behalf of the Connecting Cheshire Partnership added: “The award of this contract to BT marks the end of a comprehensive process to secure the best broadband deal for Cheshire. The four councils across Cheshire are committed to providing reliable high-speed fibre broadband for both our home and business users.
Procurement for local broadband contracts following the departure of Fujitsu can’t have taken long. BT has virtually been handed the keys to the last BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) contracts as all other companies pulled out of the bidding race.
The project to connect the Footballers’ Wives Belt, as the north west region is affectionately known, will cost £28.5 milllion, with money coming from BT, Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Halton Borough Council and Warrington Borough Council and the BDUK fund. Put into persective, this is over three times what Luis Suarez earns in a year.