News : Broadband Could Spark Jobs Boom
Dec 11, 2014 -- Bradford is set to benefit from a jobs boom through local small firms being helped to improve their broadband connection speeds.
And Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the the Government-backed Superconnected Cities programme covering Bradford and Leeds has been extended for another year and he has allocated an extra £40 million nationally to the programme until March 2016.
More than 800 firms in the two cities have each used £3,000 worth of vouchers to increase their broadband speed and boost business connections since February and are expected to create more than 1,600 jobs as a result.
Grants totalling £1.5 million have been awarded to cover the costs of installing high-speed internet systems.
Take-up of the vouchers in Bradford and Leeds has been the highest outside London.
Each firm benefitting from the scheme expects to create an average of 2.1 new jobs over the next 12 months due to better internet connections, with turnover predicted to rise by an average of £148,000.
Mark Durham, local programme manager, said: "Funding from Superconnected Leeds Bradford is available to individual organisations, as well as to landlords and groups of businesses located in the same building or on the same business park.
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"We’ve seen group applications leverage some quite hefty buying power. The grants can be combined and we’ve approved a number of group applications, including one where a group of businesses received £66,000 towards an upgrade in their broadband connectivity.
"It’s a simple and swift process to sign up for the funding, and you will usually hear within 24 hours whether you have been successful.
"We would urge any businesses that are interested to go online and apply for a connection voucher as soon as possible."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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