The Runcorn-based safety gear and headwear manufacturer, established 30 years ago, has seen turnover increase by more than 15 per cent since getting the high-speed technology. The company, which is among nearly 10,000 Cheshire businesses now able to get fibre broadband as a result of the multi million pound Connecting Cheshire project, provides world-class visors, screens and headwear, such as mine clearance helmets and hats for the Royal Navy. Paul Ferguson, Managing Director of the firm, said: “Before we switched to fibre it was as if our broadband was coming down a piece of wet string. Now we are able to exploit the use of accounting software hosted in the cloud, transfer large files with ease and - more importantly - not miss any important orders. Thanks to all of these efficiencies our turnover has increased by more than 15 per cent.”
The ability to access cloud-based software – usage of which is growing at 32 per cent each year, according to industry analyst house, Gartner – is just one of the benefits to businesses of a superfast broadband connection. The Connecting Cheshire programme has already enabled 9,918 businesses across the county to access high-speed fibre broadband, and the roll-out continues. The latest locations to benefit include Warrington, Widnes, Smallwood, Bunbury, Burleydam, Wilmslow, Chester, Ellesmere Port and Congleton.
Mark Livesey, Deputy Chief Executive for Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Creating the right infrastructure to enable businesses in Cheshire to grow and thrive is a key priority for the LEP. The provision of high speed broadband is an important part of this, which is why the LEP is investing European funding to support Connecting Cheshire in rolling this out across the sub-region, and it’s great to see so many businesses benefitting.”
Mike Blackburn, Chairman of BT’s North West regional board, said: “The availability of this exciting technology for businesses across Cheshire will play a vital role in the future success and prosperity of the county. High-speed broadband is a major tool in helping today’s businesses attract new customers and work more efficiently. Whether you are an established business or a start-up, fibre broadband offers tremendous opportunities.”
And it’s not just businesses that are benefitting from the high speed technology. Connecting Cheshire is also working to roll out faster, more reliable broadband to homes in the county by delivering fibre broadband in areas, which fall outside the private sector’s commercial roll-out of the high-speed technology. The project, which is funded by the Government; the four local councils of Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington and BT, has made fibre broadband available to nearly 95,000 homes and businesses. More people than ever can now work or start their own business from home. The new fibre-based network being rolled out by engineers from Openreach, the local network business which is part of BT Group, is open to all broadband providers on an equal wholesale basis so local businesses and households can benefit from competitive products and prices from a wide range of providers.