BT has been awarded a five-year, multi-million pound contract to build the fibre-optic-based communications infrastructure for MediaCityUK, a £500m business complex under construction in Manchester.
The contract, announced on Monday, will see BT Business design, implement and manage a private network. The network, comprised of more than 20 million metres of optical fibre, will give MediaCityUK's tenants connection speeds of up to 10Gbps.
BT Business is the division of BT Retail that sells to small and medium-sized businesses.
MediaCityUK, which is located at Salford Quays, is aimed at media companies. It has already signed up future tenants such as the BBC — which is moving Sport, Radio 5 Live and other London-based staff to the complex — and Northwest Vision and Media.
BT said its network will enable applications such as broadcast media transmission and the transfer of high-definition video.
The network will also carry the complex's telephony communications and support services such as buildings management and file sharing.
Cisco will provide a high-capacity backbone network to link the principal buildings of the development. BT said it would begin installing the network later this month, with the first phase of MediaCityUK planned for completion in 2011.
BT is investing heavily in fibre-optic networks, announcing in July it would roll out fibre connectivity to millions of UK homes by the end of 2012.
In November, research firm Point Topic published maps showing the likely distribution of the new fibre.