The scheme, which is part of the Government’s “Super Connected Cities” programme, allows businesses to apply for grants of up to £3,000 to cover the costs of installing faster and better broadband into their premises. It particularly aims to benefit small and medium enterprises (SMEs), helping cities to create and attract new jobs and investment, and make the UK a more attractive place for companies to locate and do business.
Other cities taking part in this initial stage are Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.
All the information businesses need to apply for the vouchers can be found at https://www.connectionvouchers.co.uk/
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said:
“Having faster and more reliable broadband connections in Manchester and Salford will be instrumental in driving growth and boosting the local economy. I strongly urge businesses to make the most of this offer which will save them literally thousands of pounds and ensure they are properly equipped to compete in today’s digital age.”
Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Environment for Manchester City Council, said:
“Manchester is determined to become on the world’s leading digital cities by 2020 and that includes helping our small and medium-sized businesses to access superfast and ultrafast broadband. Faster internet connections mean greater efficiencies and access to improved services. This scheme will support the growth of these businesses which play an important role in the city’s economy.”
Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart said:
“The council put in a big effort and bold plans to ensure that the funding came to Salford. With the money in place, we are able to give small and medium sized businesses a genuine boost.
Salford is the home of MediaCityUk, the most advanced technology centre in Western Europe, and with this funding the rest of the city will have the opportunity to connect their business to ultrafast broadband to encourage business growth.”
The scheme is part of the Government’s wider “Superfast Britain” programme of work which is transforming the UK’s communication infrastructure. Around 88% of the country will have access to superfast broadband by December 2015, with an estimated 90% getting superfast coverage by early 2016. An extra £250 million of investment means we will reach 95% of premises by 2017 and we are now exploring with industry how to expand coverage further, using more innovative fixed, wireless and mobile broadband solutions, to reach at least 99 per cent of premises in the UK by 2018.
Notes to Editors
- In 2011, the government set aside £100 million for an Urban Broadband Fund (UBF) that will create up to ten ‘super-connected’ cities across the UK. This was followed in 2012 by a further fund of £50 million for a ‘second wave’ of cities to benefit from this programme
- The super-connected cities will benefit from increased access to faster and better broadband, and large areas of public wireless internet (wifi) access
- The super-connected cities were announced in two waves. The first wave, announced in March 2012, included: Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds and Bradford (joint proposal), Edinburgh, Cardiff and London
- We announced the second wave of super connected cities in December 2012. They are: Aberdeen, Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Derry/Londonderry, Newport, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth, Salford and York