Metronet (UK) claims that in Manchester no business can now claim to be at a technology disadvantage due to geography. The provider who combine dark fibre with carrier grade wireless are able to provide connectivity across the city, and already provide services to more than 20% of the top 500 companies in the city.
"We’ve spent the last few years building a completely new infrastructure across the region from scratch. We have spent millions of pounds on scalable and resilient infrastructure and have built nearly 100 new points of presence. We can connect new customers to the network in a matter of days. There is nothing like this anywhere else in Europe, let alone the UK!
There isn't a business in the area that cannot be reached by the Metronet (UK) network. Furthermore, we don't suffer with the normal way leave issues that plague the likes of Virgin & BT, extending lead-times and often pushing the installation prices through the roof once the survey is completed."Metronet (UK) Managing Director, James McCall
The network map which shows their points of presence and demonstrates the reach of the network and has to make one question what the £12m that Manchester City Council is to spend on making the city superconnected will actually be spent on. We are told "Manchester Digital City bid aims to make ultrafast broadband available to 235,000 premises - 224,000 residential and 11,000 businesses - across the city by 2014/15". Assuming the £12m is matched by the council, and the private sector adds another £16m the project only has £170 per property to spend to meet its target. They also plan to roll out Wi-Fi across public areas and transport corridors, which will eat into the money.
Many have questioned the spending of public funds to bring speeds of just around 100 Mbps to the cities, when the majority of premises in 2013 will have to 330 Mbps via Openreach Fibre on Demand available to them or 120 Mbps from Virgin Media. The activities of companies like Metronet (UK) are currently suggesting that there has been no total market failure, perhaps as with Birmingham the money will get swallowed into pre-existing regeneration projects as an attempt to attract business from other parts of the UK.
In the meantime those businesses that are in rural areas and it is not just upland farmers that run businesses in the countryside, look set to compete for a pot of just £20m (RCBF) funding that is to be spread across the UK as a veneer of assistance.