Dark fiber agreement signed to give Manchester 10 Gbps broadband

Manchester’s 10 Gbps broadband is on its way with a new deal that will increase internet speeds for local businesses.

Telcom Networks has signed a 10-year agreement with local company The Loop to provide businesses in Manchester with fiber-optic broadband.

The Loop, based in the industrial district of Trafford Park, uses dark fiber to deliver gigabit-plus broadband speeds to businesses.

It operates a 160 km circular network – originally built for the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 – around the outskirts of Greater Manchester, from Salford to Oldham, Stretford and Gorton.

Go further: What is dark fiber and how will it reduce broadband bills?

Local politicians lined up to welcome the movement. Sean Anstee is the senior member of the Trafford Council and has the portfolio to look after employment prospects in Greater Manchester.

Telcom was launched in its hometown in 2014.

He started out by managing fiber optic networks for ITV Granada Studios before launching as a full-fledged ISP in 2015.

What is full fiber?

Standard fiber up to cabinet broadband is available in most UK countries.

But these services only use fiber optic cables for part of the connection, to the roadside green cabinets that dot the streets.

They then rely on slow copper cables from the cabinet to the home, which slows down the connection speed. You will see fiber to the cabinet broadband advertised as “up to 38 Mbps” or “up to 76 Mbps”.

Full-fiber broadband carries fast fiber-optic cables directly to homes and office buildings, dramatically increasing the speeds possible. These are known as gigabit compatible connections because the theoretical maximum speed is one gigabit per second or 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps).

You can buy gigabit broadband for your home now, through providers Hyperoptic and Gigaclear.

However, full fiber is not available in most parts of the UK. As of March 2018, it is estimated that only 2-3% of UK households can get it.

Who gets Manchester 10 Gbps broadband?

15 office buildings in the city center will be the first to access it. Work is already underway as we speak.

The first to be connected will be the start-ups in the co-working spaces of the XYZ building at Spinningfields and Federation House, as well as at 24 Lever Street, 1 Exchange Quay and 196 Deansgate.

The broadband deal could see up to 40 buildings in the North Arts District of Spinningfields CBD connected by the end of 2018.

Telcom CEO Shaun Gibson emphasizes, “This is no ordinary tech collaboration.

“We believe that the Internet should be offered as a public service, and this project is another step towards the final elimination of the digital divide in this region.”

Manchester is also one of six locations advertised by the government as a pilot zone for full fiber deployments.

The others are: Aberdeenshire, Warwickshire, West Yorkshire, Somerset and West Sussex.

MAIN IMAGE: Ashley Griffiths: Managing Director of The Loop and Shaun Gibson, CEO of Telcom Networks

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