By Adam Crossley - 28th September 2012 7:04am
Connecting Cheshire has moved a step closer to faster broadband for all.
They've gained Whitehall approval this week to open discussions with suppliers for superfast broadband in areas where BT isn't in a rush to install it — like Audlem.
More can be seen on their website — click on the link to the right.
#Audlem Online says
Audlem Online adds: We ran an easy Homepage link a few months ago to the Connecting Cheshire website so that anyone interested could register. We continued that until the quoted deadline but it appears you can still express an interest.
If you have not done so yet, a click on to the Connecting Cheshire website and then following the easy steps will help Audlem's efforts to get Superfast Broadband. We understand a significant proportion of those across Cheshire registering an interest have come from around here.
#Cheshire East says
Cheshire East council adds: "It is estimated that faster broadband will boost the whole of Cheshire's economy by £1.3 billion over the next 15 years and create around 11,000 jobs.
"The news comes as a business group warned that economic development in rural areas is being put at risk because of failures to provide adequate access to the internet.
"The Country Land and Business Association on Monday, September 24th said up to a fifth of people in rural areas nationally still do not have adequate broadband services.
"The Connecting Cheshire Partnership, comprising Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Warrington and Halton Councils, has now been given Whitehall approval for progression to the 'pre-procurement' stage.
"The partnership has so far received more than £3m in government funding for the roll-out of superfast broadband, but needs up to £40m in order for the project to reach 100 per cent coverage. In Cheshire East, up to 110,000 homes and businesses could miss out without this public investment.
"Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the government's authority for implementing superfast broadband carried out a comprehensive assurance process of the Connecting Cheshire project to ensure that it is ready to enter the next stage in the formal procurement process.
"This will include the appointment of a telecommunications partner to provide superfast broadband networks where commercial roll-out has not been economically viable.
"Council funding will be used to match Government funding of £3.24m already received to date, combined with an anticipated £15m a grant from the European Union to deploy new superfast broadband networks, from 2013, in areas where commercial providers have not yet upgraded the existing broadband infrastructure.
"Connecting Cheshire expects to appoint either BT Openreach or Fujitsu as its partner next April, in line with a national procurement exercise overseen by BDUK.
"The appointed telecom company will also provide matched funds bringing the Connecting Cheshire project total cost to around £39m. This combined investment is expected to ensure that the project will exceed the Government's target of 90 per cent of homes and businesses being able to connect to superfast broadband by 2015."
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