A new broadband project being launched in Manchester could become the model for further network deployments in the UK by providing a service that could help to finance its own investment.
The new fibre will offer connection speeds of 100Mbit/s and is being installed in the Oxford Road area of the city by fibre network firm Geo in conjunction with the Manchester Digital Development Agency.
A total of £1m was made available as a research grant from the Northwest Regional Development Agency for the creation of an FTTP network as part of the investment.
Geo is planning to start the first phase of network deployment in the spring, and further connections direct to 500 business and 1,000 homes will be phased in over the next 12 months.
The deployment will allow businesses to buy services such as internet access, TV, telephone and data from a variety of service providers which will lease the use of the optical fibre from Geo.
Furthermore, the fibre service could offer the ability for firms to access services and applications for free, eliminating the need for a service provider.
As such, the initiative will be watched closely by bodies charged with rolling out broadband in the UK as a potential model that could be used elsewhere in the country to make further super-fast broadband deployments pay for themselves.
Chris Smedley, chief executive of Geo, said that the deployment represents the growing reliance companies have on connection speeds to make the most of new businesses tools and ways of working.
"The rollout will provide businesses with a wider choice of services delivered by a thriving ecosystem of service providers due to the true open access nature of the network," he said.
Smedley also said that the new network could help businesses to benefit from a joined up digital economy that could offer high-speed upload and download links.
"Providing speeds of 100Mbit/s helps to future proof connectivity for the applications that will be developed to harness the bandwidth that is becoming available for businesses," he said.
Smedley added that the model of the rollout and its funding is revolutionary for the industry but could well become the norm, citing a growing number of community-led projects.
However, he does not think that such investments will replace the government's proposed rollout of broadband in the UK, but will instead act as a complement to them.
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