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GBP2.5m Greater Manchester Broadband Programme Moves Forward

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 (7:30 am) - Score 2,701
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Several local authorities across the Greater Manchester area (e.g. Bolton, Salford etc.) in North West England have each agreed to contribute £312,500 (total £2.5 million) to help boost superfast broadband (30Mbps+) coverage for SME businesses.

Greater Manchester’s Local Broadband Plan is designed to be “complemented” by Manchester City Council’s and Salford City Council’s Urban Broadband Fund (Super-Connected Cities) award of £12 million from the Government and more funding is also being sought from the EU.

The project’s original aim was to make superfast broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps available to areas where slower / sub-2Mbps connectivity remained the norm. However it’s important to stress that the city council areas of Manchester and Salford are subject to different arrangements for state aid and funding and £2.5m is just a drop on the ocean for such a large urban area.

At the time of writing a final plan for how the money will actually be spent has yet to be finalised.

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3 Responses
  1. Superfast Broadband and the farce of its roll-out particularly in England is one perfect reason to get out of Europe. The only part that the UK Government clings to is the over 24 Mbps definition for superfast when in Europe this is a minimum of 30 Mbps.

    Otherwise it hides behind Europe’s skirts to ensure that Superfast Britain maintains a Superslow Roll-Out. Reaching 95% of the population by 2017 – another 4 years. Then examine what speed they actually get – over 24 Mbps or the UK Government minimum of 2 Mbps for all?

  2. Avatar MikeW says:

    I’m confused, and I think this article is too.

    Of the ten authorities in Greater Manchester, Salford and Manchester have been classed as ‘urban’ and only take part in the super-connected cities fund (the UBF), which is the fund that is having state-aid problems, and has become the voucher & wifi scheme – £12m for Manchester and £7.1m for Salford.

    However, the other 8 authorities have been classified as ‘rural’, and are eligible for BDUK funding as with the rest of rural Britain. Last I saw, they were allocated £990,000 – and it looks like the £2.5m is from these 8 councils to spend alongside the BDUK funds. I don’t think this batch of funds needs to be spent on a voucher scheme.

    In fact, it seems that the 8 councils applied for ERDF funding of £4.9m, but have been allocated £2.5m which needs to be match-funded by the 8 councils -hence the £312.5k per council. BDUK funding has been increased by £2m to £2.99m too. With these new figures, the 8 councils believe that the total project will be worth £14.5m including BT’s contribution.

    Source: report for Tameside council, dated 18th November.
    http://www.tameside.gov.uk/strategicplanning/capitalmonitoringpanel/18nov13/item10.pdf

    Priority areas in these ‘rural’ authorities are town centres.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      I meant to add…
      That the new funding means they are aiming at 99% superfast coverage, and define ‘superfast’ to be 30Mbps. Sorry Tavistock 😉

      They also mention that coverage in some of the principal town centres is low (even 0%) due to EO lines, and that the new funding allows these to raise to between 70% and 95%.

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