Council welcomes plans for full fibre broadband in Chester

16 March 2020

Residents and business in Chester will see their online experience improve massively with the news that the city is to get full fibre broadband.

Chester, and surrounding areas, is to become one of the North’s Gigabit Cities, with broadband speeds of 1 gigabit per second (gbps): sixty times faster than the average UK broadband speed.

Benefits of full fibre broadband:
  • residents can download high definition films in under one minute
  • hospitals can share HD quality graphics of scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds
  • businesses can increase transactions by uploading the largest files quickly and easily
  • pupils can stream educational videos at the same time.
CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, says Chester is one of nine additional cities in the north benefitting from a £4bn Gigabit City Investment Programme, targeting up to 8 million homes and premises.

Cllr Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said:  “Residents and businesses in Chester will benefit  hugely from this announcement. It means quicker connection speeds at work and in our homes.
“The Council believes strongly that progress on broadband speeds should not end at the outer edge of the city, so we will continue to push for funding that will see similar initiatives rolled out in other towns and rural areas. 36 per cent of businesses in Cheshire West are located in rural areas, so these business and the communities that surround them need investment in digital infrastructure too so that they are not left behind. Our ambition is for Cheshire to be the best place in the UK to have a rural business and we will promote this with Government.
“We want to ensure that no matter where you live in our borough, families, schools, community facilities and businesses can all access the fastest broadband speeds and reap the benefits of full digital inclusion.”

Currently, 95 per cent of the UK has access to the slower superfast broadband, which has download speeds of at least 24 megabits per second.

At the moment, fibre services run by having cables connected to roadside cabinets, which then have copper cables connected to homes and premises. While superfast broadband is fast enough for most household uses today, growing data demands are straining the copper-based infrastructure.

The new technology will mean full-fibre cables link directly into buildings - boosting the speed up to 1gbps.  Gigabit broadband usually means full-fibre technology but could also include cable broadband and future 5G networks.

Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre, said: “The North’s need for a world-class digital infrastructure has never been greater. Full fibre will play a critical role in levelling-up the North and so we are accelerating our plans, bringing full fibre to more towns and cities even faster.” 

Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “This digital progress is a significant step to opening up opportunities for those growing up across the North as well as businesses here already or considering relocating or starting here.”

CityFibre will shortly be awarding more than £1.5bn in network construction contracts for the full city builds. Awards will be granted by July, enabling the selected partners to mobilise their workforce in preparation for network construction to begin by the end of 2020. It will create more than 5,000 construction jobs across the UK and stimulate local economic growth in the region of £85bn.

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