11/12/2013 - Permalink

Businesses to get broadband support

Related topics: Community

Businesses in Shropshire and Staffordshire will be helped to get the most out of faster broadband speeds thanks to a successful funding bid.

Shropshire Council, in collaboration with Staffordshire County Council, has successfully bid for £214,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the project, Optimising Business Broadband.

A series of events and training programmes will take place across the two council areas to ensure businesses are well placed to take advantage of access to faster broadband, which is being delivered as part of the national BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) framework.

The project will give businesses the opportunity to have one-to-one support from experts, who will visit businesses to show how they can save money and increase productivity by using fibre broadband services.

The project aims to work with businesses across the Shropshire Council and Staffordshire County Council areas until the end of June 2015, helping them to boost their turnover and efficiency using fibre-based broadband.

Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee, said:

“In 2011 the Government announced its £530 million Broadband Delivery UK scheme, which aims to provide superfast broadband to at least 90% of premises in the UK.

“This broadband must be used effectively by businesses.  To make this work, it’s important to help educate and inform on the potential benefits and improvements that could be made and gained as a result; from saving money by being more efficient, to recognising and exploiting new opportunities to boost profits.  This project seeks to do just that, with the support from ERDF funding.”

In Shropshire, the Connecting Shropshire programme – a partnership between Shropshire Council, BDUK and BT – is investing £24.6 million in providing a faster broadband service to homes and businesses in the Shropshire Council area where it isn’t currently commercially viable to do so.

The Connecting Shropshire programme will build on BT’s commercial investment so that 93 per cent of premises across Shropshire (not including Telford & Wrekin) should have access to fibre broadband by the end of spring 2016, with all premises covered by the programme receiving a minimum of 2Mbps.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for business growth, said:

“This grant from the ERDF is good news for eligible businesses in the Shropshire Council area.  With Connecting Shropshire giving access to faster broadband from early 2014, it’s crucial that we are able to support businesses to embrace the new opportunities to reduce costs, drive up revenues and contribute to boosting the Shropshire economy.”

Further information

The Optimising Business Broadband project is part-financed by the 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/browse/business/funding-debt/european-regional-development-funding.