Awareness raised in Stockport over broadband access

Michael Hunt

Businesses in Stockport were made aware of how faster broadband access will make a difference to their companies at an event held at the Town Hall.

Organised by the council and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Stockport Boost campaign, the event raised awareness of the impact on businesses associated with having limited broadband access.

Matthew Kershaw, from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: "The Government has proposed a national target for broadband to be at least two megabits per second, but we don't feel that is fast enough and it should be at least 100 megabits per second.

"Businesses in countries such as Holland, Finland as well as globally in cities within the Far East all have access to high speed broadband. The Oxford Road area of Manchester city centre has been given funding for broadband speeds of 100 megabits and we don't want Stockport to miss out."

In January, residents and businesses located in the Oxford Road area of Manchester city centre were told they would be benefitting from the next generation fibre broadband, which aims to revolutionise ways of working and using digital communications.

Corridor Manchester and Manchester Digital Development Agency appointed Geo to install new fibre optic cables that will create an open access network. The network project is being managed by the MDDA and funded by the North West Development Agency.

Ged Lucas, corporate director for communities, regeneration and environment at Stockport Council, added: "Being able to access the very latest and fastest internet broadband is vital to both the future success of businesses in Stockport as well as attracting investment.

"The council, alongside partners from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, is committed to ensuring that local businesses are able to benefit from high speed internet access and therefore able to compete on both a national and international level."

Ben Poland, president of the Stockport branch of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: "We all take broadband for granted, but the proposed 'one lane motorway' approach could leave us lagging behind. Most businesses are unaware that broadband infrastructure is an issue – we want to ensure they understand the ramifications of the proposals and give them a voice. The Chamber can then lobby the government with a unified message."

The Stockport broadband infrastructure awareness event was held at the Town Hall on Monday 29 March and involved former BBC journalist Felicity Goodey and Dave Goddard, leader of Stockport Council, as guest speakers.

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