B4RN storming

Lancashire & Cumbria

Villagers took the issue of high speed broadband connectivity into their own hands in 2011, with the creation of Broadband 4 Rural North. More than 500 homes have been connected to B4RN's 350 km community-owned gigabit Fibre To The Home network. The villages of Storth, Silverdale and Yealand have now announced they will enter the initiative, fundraising the £200,000 cost and preparing to lay the cables with the help of volunteers. www.b4rn.org.uk


Transport for Greater Manchester's two-month consultation to identify intervention areas for broadband infrastructure came to a close in August, with the results expected to appear in the coming months. Manchester has set a target of bringing a two megabits per second broadband speed to every home and business by 2015, but has been criticised by some who say this target is too modest. Broadband for businesses in the city was described by Deloitte in a report as "a lottery", with speeds varying from 87.9Mbps in Spinningfields to 20.45Mbps in Castlefield. www.tfgm.com/GMBroadbandConsultation/Pages/default.aspx


FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology), Liverpool Mutual Homes, Royal Voluntary Service and the Studio College took an innovative approach to digital engagement, demonstrating technology uses to pensioners through gaming workshops and Twitter tutorials on typewriters. Visitors to FACT were shown how to create scale models of buildings such as the Adelphi Hotel within the popular Minecraft game, as well as using the platform to create pixel art. www.fact.co.uk / www.thestudioliverpool.uk/latest/studio-minecraft-masterclass/

Cheshire – Grants for connecting businesswomen

Connecting Cheshire, a partnership bringing fibre broadband to Cheshire, has been granted £75,000 from the government's Women & Broadband Challenge Fund to help businesswomen learn the benefits of digital technology and connectivity. Priority sectors are manufacturing, creative industries, advanced engineering and financial services. The project will run for six months from September 2014. Connecting Cheshire is to announce a specialist support and events package in the coming weeks. www.ccbusiness.co.uk

Government property map

The government has published an online map to allow people to find the location of publicly held land or property, including 3,900 sites in the North West, so the public can "challenge whether the land or property is being used effectively". While the categories of usage are broad – limited to "office", "specialist" or, frequently, "none" – the property details are quite precise, even to the size of the detention suite at Manchester Airport's Terminal 2 (7,000 sq ft, if you're interested). www.gov.uk/find-government-property

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