Millions to be invested in broadband roll-out in rural Cheshire

Cheshire West and Chester Council will receive a share of ?7.25m of funding to extend the roll-out of faster broadband in the borough. The investment over the next three years is the fourth phase of the Connecting Cheshire project and will target rural areas in Cheshire and Warrington, where broadband speeds remain low and where it has not been commercially viable to invest previously. Called Digital 2020, the project will focus on reaching premises in rural broadband black spots, a digital business support package to enable small businesses to exploit digital technologies such as e-commerce, cloud computing and a broadband connection voucher scheme for businesses.

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Funding will come mainly from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and government sources, as well as from Connecting Cheshire and businesses. To date, the Connecting Cheshire project has reached more than 97,000 premises with faster speeds and has switched-on more than 600 new roadside fibre broadband cabinets. The project has also been successful in driving take-up of the faster speeds by homes and businesses and will soon reach 50 per cent, one of the highest in the country.

The Digital 2020 project is a partnership of Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington Borough Councils, and is managed by Cheshire East Council’s arms length Skills and Growth Company.

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Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, said: “This is excellent news to especially support our rural businesses that need fast and reliable internet connections to compete.

“Access to a fast broadband is taken for granted in cities across the country but we want to ensure as many residents as possible also have access to faster internet connections to access skills and learning, entertainment and other social connections.”

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The process of selecting an infrastructure partner for Digital 2020 is already under way and the scope of coverage will be confirmed once the procurement process is completed.

It is hoped that the programme will start its roll-out in early 2018.

The Connecting Cheshire project was launched in April 2013, for more information visit: www.connectingcheshire.org.uk

FCC Inquiry Sees Contention Over Broadband Standards

By Kelcee Griffis1

Law360, New York (September 22, 2017, 7:14 PM EDT) — An FCC inquiry into the state of nationwide broadband deployment proved contentious as an initial comment period closed Thursday, with industry groups arguing that the government should count both fixed and mobile services in its analysis and set a certain benchmark for mobile service.

Meanwhile, consumer advocacy organizations said the government is at risk of setting its service standard too low and simply moving the goalposts to make it appear that more people have been adequately reached.

The comments, filed as an initial comment period ended,…


  1. ^ Kelcee Griffis (www.law360.com)

High speed Broadband welcomed in Rhu

MORE thank 800 homes and businesses in Rhu are now able to connect to high-speed fibre broadband due to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme. The Digital Scotland team celebrated fibre availability in the Argyll and Bute village as they visited a fibre street cabinet that will help serve the local area. The team were joined by Rhu Marina manager, Suzanne Bell, and Argyll and Bute Council leader, Aileen Morton.

Other areas in Argyll and Bute to benefit from the rollout, led by the Scottish Government, include Helensburgh, Rosneath, Clynder, Cardross and Arrochar. Cllr Morton, said: “Superfast fibre broadband will benefit both local residents and businesses. Broadband is a vital part of Argyll and Bute’s present and future.

“It’s essential that we embrace this latest generation of technology in order for our local economy to remain competitive.

“Better, faster communications boost businesses, helping them grow, and create more jobs. What’s more, local residents can enjoy faster browsing and downloading at home.

“This is great news for Rhu and we are determined to make sure everyone in Argyll and Bute has access to digital services and the skills and confidence to go online and use them.”

Ms Bell added: “It’s good to see this project reaching rural communities and giving an increasing number of homes and businesses the chance to connect to high-speed broadband.

“Rhu Marina has various events coming up and we are excited that this infrastructure is in place so that we can benefit – particularly through our online promotion. Rhu Marina also offer free wi-fi to all customers and visitors who can now enjoy high speed, reliable connectivity including all of the pontoons.”

Across Argyll and Bute, more than 24,000 homes and businesses can benefit from fibre broadband, thanks to the programme.

To find out more about the project visit www.scotlandsuperfast.com/where-when/