Up to 40 buildings across Manchester city centre could be connected to 10 Gigabit internet services from the Northern Quarter to Spinningfields and First Street to Ancoats under a 10-year deal between fibre network The Loop and thriving local ISP Telcom.
The initial rollout is underway offering speeds of more than three hundred times faster than standard broadband, initially to 15 prominent buildings in Manchester city centre. These include XYZ Building in Spinningfields and the Co-op’s Federation, as well as 24 Lever Street, 1 Exchange Quay and 196 Deansgate.
Businesses and residents have for many years been making do with poor broadband services as hardly any fibre is available in the city.
Cllr Sean Anstee, leader of Trafford and Greater Manchester’s lead for skills and employment, said: “This fits extremely well with our digital strategy. It will support our ambitions to be a leading tech city, creating jobs, attracting and retaining talent and enabling small businesses, particularly those in the creative sector to have affordable and accessible top-grade internet. This will allow them to stay ahead of the competition, flourish and grow.”
Ashley Griffiths, managing director of The Loop, said: “This initiative which takes fibre directly to the building at a new low cost has the potential to be truly transformational for businesses in these buildings.”
Shaun Gibson, CEO of Telcom Networks, said: “Telcom Networks is on a mission to transform the UK’s internet, a mission that can only be achieved through the deployment of full-fibre infrastructure. We are very excited about our collaboration with The Loop, which has a fantastic track record in Manchester. After a careful evaluation of various providers, they came out as the obvious choice as a partner.
“We believe the internet should be offered as a utility, and this project is another step towards eliminating the digital divide once and for all in this region. We are very focused on digital inclusion and helping the independent creative community thrive. This is not a run of the mill tech collaboration. It is in line with both the Government’s and the Mayor’s strategy and we’re proud to be supporting them on achieving their vision for the city region. What we’re doing here is just the start.”
The Loop has 160 km of dark fibre – unused optical fibre – under the streets of Manchester and plans to extend its reach to increase capacity in Manchester in 2018. The Loop offers connectivity to all of Manchester’s leading datacentres and also links Manchester’s main commercial districts including Manchester city centre, Manchester Science Park and MediaCityUK. It also connects to some key buildings including Manchester Central Library, The Sharp Project, and Space Studios.
The Loop, the trading name of Gamma Telecom, launched in 2012 following the acquisition of the fibre network originally installed by Atlantic Telecom for the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002. The network circles the city centre and stretches out to Eccles in the West, towards Oldham in the North, Stretford in the South and Gorton in the East.