Ultrafast broadband project to start in St Helens

St Helens is getting an ultrafast broadband boost which will provide a technological edge over other areas of the country.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 12:08 pm
Work to install 31km of ultrafast full-fibre broadband is set to get under way in St Helens next week as part of a £30m Liverpool City Region Combined Authority scheme to help the region become one of the most digitally connected areas in the country.

Work to install 31km of ultrafast full-fibre broadband is set to get under way next week as part of a £30m Liverpool City Region Combined Authority scheme to help the region become one of the most digitally connected areas in the country.

LCR Connect is a joint venture half-owned by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in partnership with North West-based ITS Technology Group, who will lead the project, working alongside construction partner NGE, who are managing the build and roll out of the network.

The network will be aimed initially at businesses, institutions and commercial customers, and will deliver a competitive advantage across all six boroughs of the Liverpool City Region, including through improved cloud connectivity.

It will put City Region businesses in prime position to lead the way in a host of growing sectors, from health and life sciences, Artificial Intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and advanced manufacturing – driving business growth and investment.

While the network is not intended to deliver immediate benefits to residential consumers a successful roll-out could be expected to attract new operators offering a greater variety of services at potentially more competitive prices in the future.

LCR Connect will pass through 13 wards in St Helens, providing a boost to employment areas, key growth sites and regeneration areas including Glass Futures and Earlestown town centre – while St Helens town centre will also be one of the best-connected locations on the network, with four separate links to and from the town centre and national/international connectivity via the BT exchange.

Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business and the Liverpool City Region’s Deputy Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector, said: “This is a transformational project that aims to firmly place our city region at the forefront of digital connectivity.

“We know our residents and businesses want to see improvements made to broadband speeds which is why LCR Connect is such a significant revolutionary project which has the potential to contribute more than £100m to the City Region’s economic recovery in the short-term and up to £1bn in the longer-term."

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “When I was elected, I made it a priority to make our region the most digitally connected anywhere in the country so it is fantastic to see work getting underway in St Helens on this game-changing digital network.

“Our region was at the forefront of the first industrial revolution, and I think LCR Connect will help make us a leader of the fourth, ultimately generating £1bn for the local economy.

“Local people and businesses in St Helens and beyond will feel the benefits too, with significantly faster broadband speeds, thousands of jobs and training opportunities, and improved public services. To top it all off, we own 50% of it so we’ll be reaping the benefits for years to come.”

Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, added: “This Liverpool City Region scheme will be carried out using the ‘dig once’ approach meaning it will be coordinated with existing roadwork and infrastructure works, helping save money and reduce disruption for our residents.

“I know that roadworks are frustrating but the short-term inconvenience is greatly outweighed by the long-term gain of a better-connected borough which will benefit our economic growth for years to come.”

As cable installation is taking place on footpaths and roads, residents and road users are advised that temporary walkways or traffic management may be necessarily, with contractors working to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

Work will begin on Monday, September 6, starting on the A580 East Lancs Road from the Knowsley boundary to Windle Island, and A570 Dentons Green Lane to Lingholme Road.

The whole St Helens borough scheme expected to be completed by spring 2022.

If you have any queries regarding these works, please contact: NGE Contracting Ltd on 0800 0478545 or email [email protected]

For more information, visit www.lcrconnect.com