Manchester City Council

£12m broadband bid success speeds Manchester into the future

Manchester City Council is celebrating success in its bid for £12 million of government funding to become a ‘superconnected city.'

It was announced in today's budget that the city has been awarded the funding to spread the advantages of ultrafast broadband.

The plans will complement a wider Greater Manchester-wide strategy to roll out ultrafast broadband across the city region.

Manchester Digital City bid aims to make ultrafast broadband available to 235,000 premises - 224,000 residential and 11,000 businesses - across the city by 2014/15.

Additional funding will also be available to support small and medium-sized businesses requiring even faster connectivity, including providing support and advice to help them maximise the benefits.

And high-speed wireless connections will be installed across key public areas and along major transport corridors, making it easier than ever for people in the city to get online quickly.

The project will also tackle issues of digital exclusion in so-called 'white' areas where the private sector have been reluctant to invest. Currently only 74 per cent of residents can access broadband, with take-up particularly low in communities such as Wythenshawe and East Manchester.

Removing this 'digital divide' will radically improve the potential to deliver online services to residents.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The Manchester Digital City package will result in high speed internet access for all of our residents and businesses, promoting social inclusion and stimulating economic growth, particularly in the digital and media industries.

"We've repeatedly stressed the importance of improved transport infrastructure to the city's future, but leading edge digital connectivity is every bit as essential. We aim to be one of the world's top 20 digital cities by 2020 and this funding will help propel us along that path."

Dr Alexander Roy, head of research at New Economy, said "We're really pleased that the Government has recognised the merits of investing in ultrafast broadband in Manchester. We have been working on this agenda for more than two years and believe that delivery of the programme will put Manchester among the top rank of world digital cities to support the digital and knowledge-based businesses that we know will drive our growth over the coming decade."


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