Plan to provide rural communities with full fibre broadband


Currently over 96 per cent of premises in Cheshire West and Chester can access broadband speeds of 24Mbps or above.

An initial three roll-out phases were delivered across the whole of Cheshire and Warrington in partnership with Openreach and completed in June 2019.

This saw almost £39m in funding invested in order to reach more than 106,000 premises – of which over 90,000 are now able to access superfast speeds or above.

Openreach, owned by BT, is the operator of Britain’s biggest broadband network.

The company has now announced that it will widen its full-fibre build programme to include 250,000 homes and businesses in more than 200 market towns and villages which were previously considered too complex or costly to upgrade.

Cllr Richard Beacham, CWAC 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.”

He added: “This announcement 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% of the entire telephone exchange area, but this is dependent on many factors.

The firm says it will look into 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 – although the long term plan will take up to three years to complete, with the work to be carried out in tandem with other work that Openreach has planned.

Limited disruption is expected – with no new street furniture and making use of the existing duct and pole network where possible.