A fibre network in Manchester is set to provide connectivity to 500 businesses and 1,000 homes. The project funded by £1m of investment from the North West Development Agency will be seen as a test-bed for new services from content providers and may be followed closely by government. The network will initially serve 200 premises in the Oxford Road area of the city known as "The Corridor", expanding to cover 1,500 over the year. With so few to be connected it's unclear how keen content providers will be to deploy new services on to the network, but if future plans are to include more homes and business, this could be more worthwhile.
Service will be provided at the full 100 Mbps for both download and upload speeds, and Geo, the company building the network are in talks with ten other local authorities about building similar networks in areas not served by Virgin Media or in BT's current next-generation rollout plans.
One proposed benefit of this type of network over current offerings, besides from the high speeds, is the ability to use services from multiple service providers. Users would be able to pick and mix services with provision for both Internet access, local community television and the hope for services provided by the NHS and the BBC.
"Geo is delighted to be working with Corridor Manchester and the MDDA to deliver this important infrastructure. Creating a true open access network with next generation fibre broadband capable of fully symmetrical world – leading broadband services will radically change the way people use the internet for business and social use. Geo's unique business model is ideally suited to helping the UK to meet the challenge of building the new networks needed for the country to compete on the global stage and we are proud to be associated with this landmark initiative."Chris Smedley, (Chief Executive) Geo