Virgin Media hopes to help power Manchester tech startup hub with cable broadband
Three thousand businesses in an area of Manchester earmarked as a tech startup hub by the government will be able to access “affordable” 100Mbps superfast broadband through Virgin Media.
The company, which is spending £75 million in expanding its cable network in the city, will offer special packages to 300 buildings in the Northern Quarter, to which Chancellor George Osborne has allocated £4 million to create a tech ecosystem similar to Tech City in London.
Each building will have access to a 1Gbps connection and each business will be able to get 50Mbps or 100Mbps connectivity. Virgin Media says such speeds should satisfy most firm’s needs, but if they need a faster connection, they can access a leased line.
Manchester business broadband
It is claimed the number of digital economies in Greater Manchester has risen by 70 percent in recent years and local leaders claim the arrival of faster speeds can help establish a rival to Tech City.
“Quick, reliable broadband is the backbone of our digital economy, transforming the way businesses operate and the services they can provide,” said Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council. “This announcement represents a bespoke ultra-fast broadband package for small and medium enterprises and will help support some of Manchester’s most digitally minded and creative businesses.”
Virgin Media’s expansion will eventually connect an additional 150,000 homes and businesses in Manchester, extending coverage to 450,000 properties. The investment forms part of the £3 billion ‘Project Lightning’ programme, which will add four million premises across the UK to the network.
“A central part of any technology hub is reliable, secure high-speed internet,” added Peter Kelly, VMB managing director. “This can make the difference between thriving and merely surviving for small and medium sized businesses so I’m thrilled we’re able to bring Manchester’s vibrant business community our latest package with the fastest broadband speeds.”