Cabinet Minister praises superfast boost to jobs and Greater Manchester economy

Stockport firms tell Secretary of State they would have no business without fibre broadband 

Rollout to give 45,000 homes and businesses access to high-speed broadband early 2016
Superfast broadband, which is set to boost business in Greater Manchester by £80 million, has been hailed as a vital economic generator by a cabinet minister during a visit to a business park in Stockport.

The £15 million Get Digital Faster (GDF) rollout of the fibre technology, which is being delivered across eight councils in the conurbation, will give access to 45,000 businesses and homes to the network by the time it is completed by March 2016.

The GDF programme is being delivered by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and BT on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and could create around 500 new jobs.*

Cabinet minister, The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, on a visit to Hazel Grove business park on Friday, said: “The nationwide rollout of superfast broadband is a key part of the Government's long term economic plan and is already driving growth and jobs across the UK. By 2016 we will have taken faster speeds and better connectivity to an additional 45,000 homes and businesses in the Greater Manchester area, providing a tremendous boost to the local economy.”

On his whistle stop tour he met firms including two booming businesses, Cloud 9 Hosts and Drainage Advisory Services and Assistance (DASA).

Graham Saul, who started his web hosting company Cloud 9 Hosts business with Magesh Panchanathan in 2008, is crystal clear about the value of fibre broadband.

He said: “We wouldn’t have a business without it. Fibre is mission critical for us.

“And our clients rely on the service. We have clients around the world in countries like Canada as well as in the UK, Scotland and Wales. One example is a wood-burning stove business with the father in the UK and the son in offices in New Zealand. All their data is in the Cloud and they can work whenever they need to regardless of time zones. There’s no more going abroad and not being able to work and the Cloud 9 Hosts system works across platforms so enables bring your own device.”

The success of the business, which employs eight people, means they are presently tripling the floor space of their firm and moving to other premises 200 metres away in the same business park – right next door to DASA.

Darryl Gartley operates the technology-driven Drainage Advisory Service and Assistance with 30 dedicated employees and a nationwide supply chain. DASA, based at Hazel Grove in Stockport, is a service provider to the insurance industry using the most up-to-date technology in real-time surveying and reporting on underground services. Live assessment and updates enable a fast-track process and help settle thousands of claims quickly. Their on-site engineering work and their office systems depend on high speed internet.

He said: “We moved here having been in Levenshulme, Manchester for 28 years and if there hadn’t been fibre arriving soon we would have had to find a different location – it’s that critical. All the working of the firm – the on-site investigation, downloading, editing and advising is all live these days. Fast internet is absolutely essential and it’s essential for our clients and customers.”

The green street cabinet on the business park already serves up superfast fibre broadband to some 60 firms and seven residents, with download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.***

In Stockport the Get Digital Faster programme has already given more than 1,000 homes and businesses access to high-speed broadband.

Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of Stockport Council, said: “The Get Digital Faster programme is great news for Greater Manchester’s residents and businesses. Enhanced connectivity and digital technology can give local businesses a real boost by not only strengthening the local economy but by also generating growth, creating jobs and attracting further investment.”

Stephen Holmes, BT’s Partner Director in Greater Manchester, said: “Connected communities are the way forward and high-speed broadband will give homes and businesses in Greater Manchester the connectivity they need. We see this technology as a key to unlock services and business capabilities that will help drive growth, build strong relationships with suppliers and customers and ensure that they can thrive.”

“In these eight council areas** we have, since starting in the middle of last year, completed a third of the programme which is almost 15,000 homes and businesses.”
Residents or businesses who want to find out more about Get Digital Faster can visit www.get-digital.info


* The quoted economic study – A summary of Economic Impacts by Regeneris Consulting – December 2013. Superfast Broadband – Boosting Business and the UK Economy’.
** Get Digital Faster is working with eight councils - Stockport, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Wigan , Oldham, Tameside and Trafford
*** These are the top wholesale speeds available to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

Notes to Editors

About ERDF
The Get Digital Faster project is part financed by the North West European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.

For more information visit

About BDUK
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk