Cheshire firm boosts business and staff thanks to Connecting Cheshire

Revenues to surge 20 per cent after firm buys superfast broadband MP says firm’s example highlights essential value of superfast broadband

A specialist Cheshire document management and storage company has won three new contracts and will boost its revenues by 20 per cent just by installing superfast fibre broadband.

Topwood Ltd is one of more than 83,000 businesses and households which now have access to the high-speed technology thanks to Connecting Cheshire, the fibre broadband partnership between four Cheshire Councils and BT.

Fibre broadband has transformed Topwood, based near Malpas, and has changed its whole business model.It is taking on more staff having already won three big new contracts.

The two key benefits of Topwood’s new systems are superfast uploading and downloading of documents and authorised clients being able to easily access their documents through the Cloud from anywhere in the world. The paper chase has become a cloud base.

The company’s new Electronic Document Management (EDM) solution has already led to it securing business from a leading North West legal firm, a national finance group and the human resources function of a global manufacturer.This initial new business will boost Topwood’s storage and document managementrevenue by 20 per cent, £54,000, in 2016 and it expects to win more soon.

Managing director, Tom Gilruth, says the huge improvements are down to the superfast technology.

He said: “Since the launch of our EDM solution just a few months ago, we have already managed to secure three pieces of new business.Without the ability to offer the benefits of cloud-based electronic document filing, only possible since we have had superfast fibre broadband, we would not have been able to win this new work.

“We will soon be recruiting administration staff from the local area to service the extra demand taking us from 1.5 to 3 admin employees, a 100 per cent increase in this area. It has transformed our business!”

Since 2014, the company’s bulk scanning service has converted large volumes of paper documents to electronic archive files (usually in PDF/A format).These files were then supplied to clients via encrypted hardware for their IT departments to upload to their networks.The new EDM has cut through this process and saved money on hardware, space and time.

Antoinette Sandbach, MP for Eddisbury, said: “I am delighted Topwood have been able to realise the benefits of faster broadband so effectively. Fast, reliable and competitively priced broadband is essential to all businesses in the 21st century and I look forward to a time when all the businesses in my constituency are connected.”

Mike Blackburn, BT North West regional director, said: “High speed fibre broadband has been a game-changer for so many businesses in Cheshire. Topwood is the newest recruit in a long line of firms to benefit from the work of Connecting Cheshire and BT has played its part in delivering a technology that has created a more connected business community in the county.”

Councillor Brian Clarke, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “Investment in faster broadband continues to be a key economic and social priority for the Council. I am especially pleased to see how businesses can exploit the benefits and see such a significant return on investment.”

Find out more about Connecting Cheshire at www.connectingcheshire.org.ukWhen the private sector’s commercial programme is also taken into account, more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Cheshire now have access to the high speed fibre broadband network.

Find out more about Topwood Ltd at www.topwoodltd.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

About Superfast Britain

Superfast Britain is a Government investment of £1.08bn 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 comprises three linked programmes:

● £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent 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 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

About Connecting Cheshire

The Connecting Cheshire project was launched in April 2013, and is a partnership of four councils – Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington – and BT. It is funded by £13.6m from the European Development Fund, £9m from BT, £4m from BDUK with £1.85m provided jointly from the councils.

The £28.5m project will provide fibre broadband to more than 80,000 homes and businesses. This builds on BT’s commercial investment so that 96 percent of Cheshire –around 400,000 premises – will have access to speeds of up to 80mbps.

The project will reach those areas outside of any commercial broadband roll-out using a partnership approach to ensure all communities have access to the fastest possible broadband speeds. For more information visit www.connectingcheshire.org.uk

About ERDF

The project is part financed by the North West Competitiveness Programme, 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 www.gov.uk/erdf-programmes-progress-and-achievements

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. Following the acquisition of EE on 29 January 2016, BT consists principally of six customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, EE, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com