Stockport, Bolton, Wigan, Bury, Tameside, Oldham, Trafford and Rochdale councils have signed up BT to provide superfast broadband to 39,000 more addresses.
The £15m partnership will extend BT Openreach’s target of reaching almost one million homes and businesses in Greater Manchester into ‘non-commercial areas’.
That early target is close to completion, with more than 900,000 locations already in reach of FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) broadband at up-to-76Mbps.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Fibre Broadband and BDUKProject leader Eamonn Boylan, chief executive of Stockport Council, said: “We want to see Greater Manchester become one of the world’s top digital cities by 2020.
“Access to fast and reliable broadband is becoming increasingly important for homes and businesses. These proposals would ensure local businesses can make the most of digital technology – boosting the local economy, generating growth, creating jobs and attracting further investment.”
The new coverage will be in place by the end of March 2016, and reaches locations where BT hadn’t spotted the opportunity for an easy return on its investment. It will extend the local reach of superfast broadband by 3.9 per cent, at a cost of £385 per address reached.
The project is the latest from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK fund, which is contributing £3m, alongside £5m from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund. The eight local councils are contributing £2.5m, with BT spending £4.6m.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, commented: “Access to high-speed broadband is rapidly becoming a key ingredient for economic growth and is also a major determining factor in where businesses decide to locate.
“Fibre broadband opens up a whole raft of leading edge software applications that will benefit businesses – allowing them to work more efficiently, enabling people to work when and where they want to, as well as expanding their business offerings and connecting with customers, not just locally but all over the world.”
As well as superfast FTTC, some businesses will also be able to connect to ultrafast FTTP (fibre to the premises) from selected exchanges, at up-to-330Mbps.
Some of these connections will be supplied through BT’s new Fibre on Demand scheme, where businesses or their ISP pay for the fibre cable to be extended to their premises.