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Superfast broadband boost for Greater Manchester businesses

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Around 39,000 more homes and businesses in Greater Manchester will have access to high-speed broadband by 2016, it has been announced today (December 18th).

BT has announced details of the arrangement alongside the eight local authorities that make up the region, which include Stockport, Oldham, Wigan and Trafford.

Stockport Council has said that it expects to see a £11.4 million boost to the local economy as a result of the investment, along with 80 new jobs. Overall, the plans could be worth up to £80 million across the entire region, creating 500 new positions in the process.

The move is expected to attract investment in its own right by businesses looking to take advantage of the facilities on offer that will help them in the running of their own enterprise. Serviced offices with superfast broadband are a much more attractive proposition, as they allow for a more effective use of cloud technology. The use of high-quality video conferencing will also be available for firms to take advantage of.

Eamonn Boylan, chief executive of Stockport Council, said: “Access to fast and reliable broadband is becoming increasingly important for homes and businesses. These proposals would ensure local businesses can make the most of digital technology – boosting the local economy, generating growth, creating jobs and attracting further investment.”

This latest news is part of a continuing project being managed by BT to deploy commercial fibre broadband throughout Greater Manchester – with the target of reaching nearly one million premises by spring next year. At the moment, the figure stands at over 900,000.

The vice-chair of the North West European Regional Development Fund Local Management Committee Sir Howard Bernstein said that the programme would help to “create and safeguard jobs”, while also improving the performance of local businesses – representing a “major boost to the economy”.