NWDA/Northern Way digital network project revealed

Michael Hunt

The Northern Way, an initiative being led by North West Development Agency and two other RDAs for north England, has revealed details of a £15m project aimed at revolutionising collaboration, innovation and interaction between the digital and creative industries across the north of England.

The Northern Way has invested £9.4m, supported by a further £2.27m from the NWDA, in developing a single high speed, secure, digital network that connects the region's creative and digital industries and customers.

In addition, a further £3.4m of Northern Way funding has been secured for the NorthernNET innovation and collaboration programme. The aim of this programme is to encourage sector innovation and collaboration to develop a robust, competitive supply chain which will elevate the north to be a leading force in the European media industry. The project is managed and co-ordinated by Northwest Vision & Media from its base at Media City UK, working with delivery partners in the northern regions.

Robert Hough, chairman of the NWDA, said: "NorthernNet will help to break down technology barriers and allow our digital and creative businesses to interact and collaborate at exceptional speed, as if they were working on the same computer in the same office. Large file sizes will no longer be a hindrance to collaborative working either and companies right across the north can benefit from this infrastructure to compete and grow."

"We know that Media City UK will be a site of global importance in the digital and creative sector and now this joined-up network will spread that impact across the north of England."

NorthernNet connects organisations and businesses from the digital and creative industries with a high-performance, secure, reliable, network.

An aim of Media City UK is to spread the impact and benefit across the north of England, helping to grow and develop the digital and creative sector. Through the use of high speed next generation fibre-optics, NorthernNET will connect a network of digital and creative industrial clusters across the north with Media City UK at its heart.

Phil Woolas, North West minister, added: "The North West has the potential to be at the forefront of the digital revolution as it was in the first industrial revolution but it is vital that businesses of all sizes are able to grasp the opportunities that it brings. One of the challenges is for small and medium sized enterprises to be able to access high speed broadband and I am delighted that through the NorthernNET project they will be able to do just that."

The Northern Way initiative is being led by the three Northern Regional Development Agencies including NWDA, Yorkshire Forward, and One NorthEast.

The strategy aims to tackle the £30bn output gap between the north of England and the rest of the UK by building on the assets of the three regions to transform the north's economy.

The Northern Way is focusing on three city regions within the North West including:

  • Liverpool
  • Central Lancashire
  • Manchester

Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and Humber Ports, Tees Valley and Tyne & Wear are the other five city regions being focused on.

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