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Go Digital Newcastle launches to boost city economy

Newcastle has launched plans to become one of the UK's first super-connected cities in a scheme that will boost the city's economy by a predicted £150 million. Go Digital Newcastle, a government scheme delivered by Newcastle City Council, will see 97% of Newcastle given access to superfast fibre broadband by 2015, free Wi-Fi in Newcastle City Centre, a cloud computing centre, business connection vouchers and a business support programme. The UK Broadband Impact Study published this year by analysts SQW concluded for every £1 invested in broadband by government the UK economy will benefit by £20. Under the Go Digital Newcastle initiative, BT was awarded the contract to deploy fibre broadband across the city. Around £9m of public funding is being put into Go Digital Newcastle, drawn from a range of courses: the Local/Rural Broadband Programme, co-funded by the council, the government and BT; the government's Super Connected Cities Programme; and the European Regional Development Fund.
Pictured: (left to right) "digital hero twins" Elliot and Jamie Cook, aged eight; Herb Kim of Thinking Digital; Newcastle Councillor Ann Schofield and Tristan Wilkinson of Go ON UK at the launch of Go Digital Newcastle.
Go Digital Newcastle:

Around one third of Manchester digital firms 'forced to refuse work'

Manchester Digital, the independent trade association for digital business in the North West, has revealed that 32 per cent of digital organisations in the region were forced to refuse work in 2013 due to a lack of resource, despite 83 per cent of businesses experiencing growth. The findings are results of the annual Digital Skills Audit commissioned by Manchester Digital and were announced at the opening of this week's Digital Skills Festival in the city. Other key findings in the audit included that developers are still scarce in the North West and almost half of businesses surveyed (47 per cent) have had to inflate salaries to remain competitive in the labour market with salaries for developers increasing on average by 16 per cent. Chair of Manchester Digital Tony Foggett said: "Every year we carry out a skills audit of digital businesses in the region to help us plan our skills activity for the coming year. It enables us to highlight where there are real issues in the industry and means we can work with local and regional government, educators and other relevant bodies to help resolve them."
Manchester Digital:

BCS offers advice on managing personal information online

A new Personal Data Guardianship Code has been published by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. The code has been produced by the Institute's Information and Privacy Expert Panel (IPEP) to help people understand their rights when it comes to their online and offline information. The guide, which is for both individuals who are concerned about their data and businesses handling data, offers some simple tips. These include: Think before sharing your (or anybody else's) personal information; Never, ever give out your bank account or password information when the conversation was not initiated by you; Do not respond to suspicious emails or unexpected text messages from people you do not know; Only share information that is clearly needed by an organisation for them to fulfil their part of the transaction; Take particular care with social networking sites where your personal data might be seen by countless others;
If you don't want to receive marketing messages, faxes or junk mail, register with the Telephone Preference Service , Fax Preference Service and Mail Preference Service; and Visit 'Get Safe Online' and follow its advice.
Personal Data Guardianship Code:

Newcastle and Buckinghamshire win share of O2 Local Government Digital Fund

Mobile communications provider O2 has announced the winners of a new initiative to help local councils tackle social challenges through the use of technology. Newcastle and Buckinghamshire are to be rewarded with a total of £200,000 worth of digital expertise and technology from O2, to help turn their digital vision into a practical reality. More than 120 local authorities submitted an idea to solve a problem in their community, of which, six were chosen to take part in a dragon's den-style pitch final. The judging panel, which included O2's business director Ben Dowd, Adrian Hancock, chief executive of SOCITM and Simon Parker, chief executive of the New Local Government Network, agreed on two winning councils to benefit from the Digital Fund. Newcastle City Council was chosen for a project using technology to help young people with special educational needs, and adults with learning disabilities, become independent travellers; while Buckinghamshire County Council was picked for its development of a universal benefit calculator app to help frontline workers assist citizens understand the impact of welfare reforms. The Local Government Digital Fund aims to help councils develop services in three categories: mobile working; communicating with citizens; and collaborating in the workplace.
Local Government Digital Fund:

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