Superfast support for SMEs across Manchester and Salford

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Superfast internet scheme for Manchester and Salford extended

Nearly 2000 small businesses, charities and social enterprises across Manchester and Salford have gained grant funding for a superfast or ultrafast broadband connection.

The funding - just under £3000 per firm - from a scheme administered by Manchester City Council and funded by central government, supports connections for smaller organisations.

The Superconnected Cities scheme, which was due to end this month, has been extended for a further twelve months - giving more organisations the chance to upgrade their existing connection.

The scheme, which previously covered Manchester and Salford, has now been extended to reach the whole of Greater Manchester.

After receiving a voucher, companies only have to pay VAT, anything over £3,000 and the monthly subscription fee for their new broadband connection.

A voucher can be claimed by an individual organisation, or several organisations can apply as a group, through a landlord or agent.

The 1,000th voucher was granted to Couchbase, a tech company who recently moved into new premises in Manchester.

Couchbase is a Silicon Valley-based firm serving a worldwide client base including British Gas, Tesco and Ryanair, which has based its European technical support and product development base in the Northern Quarter.

David Haikney, who leads the Manchester team, said: ““For any expanding business wanting to project a professional image, high speed broadband is absolutely essential, so this voucher scheme really is a no-brainer.”

Couchbase provide a new breed of database software, NoSQL, designed to supercede older types of database which were not set up for the modern era - in which companies can receive millions of visits to their websites and often need to store billions of documents.

“The Northern Quarter is an amazing, welcoming area and very attractive to tech companies. It has the potential to become globally important as a high-tech base, but for that to happen, the right infrastructure has to be in place”, says David, who leads a team of ten and is actively looking to recruit new staff.

“A big part of our role in the Manchester office is customer support. That means regular video-conferencing with customers and our colleagues over in California. Having the best possible internet connection is therefore crucial for our professional image.

“Claiming the grant funding was tremendously straightforward for us - and it meant we had the internet connection we needed from day one.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Simon Malia .

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