MOVES to roll-out superfast broadband to homes and businesses across Cheshire have been given another major boost from the EU.
European state-aid approval paves the way for the UK’s £530 million rural broadband scheme to start in earnest, meaning that work can begin on laying the cables for local authority broadband projects all around the UK.
A spokesman for Cheshire East Council said: “This decision lifts a significant blockage on progress to move forward with our ambitious plans to deliver more than 90 per cent superfast broadband coverage for Cheshire, Halton and Warrington, under the Connecting Cheshire partnership of four local authorities.”
In Cheshire, council funding will be used to match Government funding of £3.24 million already received to date, combined with an anticipated £15 million grant from the European Union.
The cash will be used on a new superfast broadband networks from 2013 in areas where commercial providers have not yet upgraded the existing broadband infrastructure.
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.
Clr David Brown, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is excellent news and a really significant step forward.
“We are now that much closer in our drive to ensure Cheshire can benefit fully, both socially and economically, from faster broadband speeds.
“We can now crack on with delivering our broadband plans – boosting growth and jobs.”