Manchester to get £500k high-speed fibre network

Businesses and homes in the Oxford Road area of Manchester are set to benefit from superfast broadband deployment by the end of the year

South Manchester is to get a new £500,000 open-access fibre network.

The next-generation broadband rollout will plug superfast broadband into 500 businesses and 1,000 homes in the Oxford Road area of the city.

Work to install the fibre is expected to begin this summer, with the first cluster of properties slated to be online by the end of the year.

The fibre deployment is being funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and co-ordinated by Manchester's Digital Development Agency (MDDA).

David Carter, head of the MDDA, said in a statement: "For Manchester to keep its competitive edge on the national and global stage, we need an effective high-speed broadband infrastructure. We cannot wait for the market providers to do this for us — it's a bit like public transport, private operators don't build new train lines or tram tracks — we need to provide the core infrastructure on which they can build. This will be an open-access network available to all service providers."

The MDDA plans to set up working groups from the housing, business, healthcare and creative sectors to assess and develop uses for the next-gen broadband, with telehealth services one potential use being considered.

Once the Oxford Road corridor fibre rollout is complete there are plans to expand the fibre deployment across Manchester, with the east of the city being touted as next in line for next-generation broadband.

Telco BT recently revealed the first clutch of exchanges that will have fibre deployed as part of its pledge to spend £1.5bn by 2012 to ensure 40 percent of UK homes and businesses can access fibre-based services.

The list names six exchanges in Greater Manchester that will get fibre to the cabinet, including Rusholme, close to the Oxford Road development corridor.

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