Airband signs £4.5 million contract for East Cheshire FTTP rollout

Broadband ISP Airband has signed a £4.5 million contract with Cheshire East Council to deliver gigabit-capable FTTP broadband to over 4,000 premises in rural and hard-to-reach areas in the region.

The project, supported by public funding and backing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is set to begin in early 2021 and is scheduled to complete by March 2023. Cheshire West, Warrington Borough Council and Chester and Halton Borough Council will all take part.

The council says the project will be “truly life changing” for residents in rural areas who have struggled with poor connectivity. Currently, around 95 per cent of Cheshire East premises should have access to “superfast broadband”, however, according to last year’s Open Market Review (OMR), around 28,000 premises in Cheshire still struggle with poor broadband.

Airband Founder and Director Redmond Peel said: “We are excited to have won this contract. Our focus has always been on expanding and simplifying digital access for rural communities. With access to high-quality broadband fast becoming a human right, we can’t wait to get started building the network that will give residents of rural and hard-to-reach areas of Cheshire the connectivity they deserve.”

Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration Nick Mannion said: “The fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) deal with Airband comes at a key time during the pandemic, to provide optimum connectivity to homeworkers and businesses across Cheshire East.”

“The innovative methods to connect hard-to-reach and rural areas will certainly boost work productivity and streaming family entertainment services during national lockdown and beyond. Swifter internet services will help limit many of the frustrations people are facing now, juggling home and work life. It is crucial that everyone has sufficient internet at all hours to suit diverse working patterns and household needs.”

Cheshire East Council say that more details of coverage areas will be published over the coming weeks.

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