Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the North West are a step closer to a major broadband boost - thanks to a £77million investment from the UK’s largest digital network provider.

People living and working in 11 communities across Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside are due to be upgraded following Openreach's latest build announcement, with a new, ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘full fibre’ broadband network being built to most premises in Chatburn, Irlam, Macclesfield, Nelson, Oldham, Ramsbottom, Rossendale, Shaw, Simonswood, Tottington and Wilmslow.

The news comes as the digital network provider announces it has reached more than 6million homes and businesses across the UK with ultrafast full fibre, with more than 765,000 of them in the North West.

The plans are a further boost for the region as they follow news earlier this year that around 900,000 homes and businesses would be getting access to Openreach’s new network, including hundreds of thousands in rural and harder to serve areas.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s regional director for the North, said: "Good connectivity is vital – whether it’s to work from home, access education and care services, or for gaming and streaming entertainment – and that’s why we’re investing billions across the UK to upgrade our network to 25 million premises.

"Nobody’s building faster, further or to a higher standard than Openreach, and we’ve already reached six million homes and businesses with ultrafast full fibre technology, including more than 765,000 in the North West. It’s proving popular as well, with tens of thousands already choosing to start using it.

"Our engineers and build partners are reaching more communities every week and we're not just building in cities and urban areas.

"Many rural and hard to reach communities are already benefitting and we plan to reach many more in the coming months and years."

Across the UK, 1.3million homes and businesses have already ordered a full fibre service from a range of retail service providers using the Openreach network.

However, this means that 4.7million more are yet to start benefitting from some of the fastest, most reliable broadband connections in the world and have yet to upgrade.

Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in the North West to full fibre.

It estimated this would create a £5.5billion boost to the regional economy.

Openreach engineers have been working hard to make the technology available to as many people as possible throughout the UK and work will continue between now and 2026, with the full list of locations and timescales being updated regularly on the Openreach website.

The company’s plans are fundamental to the UK government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable’ broadband to 85 per cent of UK by 2025.

The company plans to reach a total of 25million premises by the end of December 2026, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country defined by industry regulator Ofcom.

Openreach employs more than 3,500 people across the North West region.