Yesterday Newcastle launched Go Digital Newcastle, an economy boosting plan intended to turn the city into one of the UK’s first super-connected metropolises.
The scheme will see 97% of the Northern city be given access to superfast fibre broadband by 2015, free wi-fi in the centre, a cloud computing hub, business connection vouchers and a business support programme.
SMEs, charities and social enterprises will be able to apply for connection vouchers worth up to £3000 to get connected to fast, high quality broadband with nearly 200 registered suppliers.
The council claims that Go Digital Newcastle is very good news for small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
“Superfast broadband can help turn local heroes into superheroes – our city-based businesses can use the faster speeds to reach new markets and products and compete on both a national and international scale,” claims council leader, Nick Forbes.
“Go Digital Newcastle will boost the local economy and help create and protect local jobs,” he added.
Along with this, BE Group, a provider of independent business services, will be delivering digital master classes and workshops as part of a free business support programme.
The council claims the plans will also benefit visitors to the city and people on the move with readily available free wi-fi. Householders in the city too will be able to upgrade their home broadband to superfast speeds.
The project is receiving funding from numerous places: The Local/Rural Broadband Programme (co-funded by the council, Government and BT), The Government’s Super Connected Cities Programme and the European Regional Development Fund.