Manchester Loop to propel city's digital ambitions
A much forgotten series of underground networks from the 2002 Commonwealth Games could propel Manchester towards achieving the city's ambition of reaching the top 20 digital cities worldwide.
Based in Trafford Park, Gamma Communications are looking to put the 'Manchester Loop' to good use, after purchasing the fibre optic system from Atlantic Telecom when the company went into administration. The system runs for a total of 48 miles, covering everywhere from the centre of Manchester to Salford, Eccles, Trafford and Oldham.
Despite laying unused for the last decade, the system of cables is capable of providing superfast internet speeds of up to 1 GB/s. Ashley Griffiths, managing director for The Loop, commented: "This is a recycled asset which Manchester has been sitting on for more than a decade. We have kept this network maintained and the time is now right to make it available." He concluded by saying "Organisations located on or close to The Loop can now access ultra-fast internet connectivity... [This] is vital for any business to prosper and we can deliver state-of-the-art technology cheaply, quickly and efficiently."
System almost unique to Manchester
This kind of underground system is not found almost anywhere else in Britain, with only Portsmouth and central London boasting the same capabilities. Even before factoring in the disruption it would cause, it is estimated that to install such a system today would cost tens of millions of pounds. This network already being in existence gives Manchester's technological capabilities a significant advantage over the rest of Britain.
The initial cost of setting up this kind of system was demonstrated in 2011, when a Japanese firm was willing to invest £1.5-£2 billion into a fibre optic network across Britain.
Tom Glass, creative director at theEword said: "Technology is constantly advancing, and the benefit of increased internet capabilities to companies is immeasurable. While it remains to be seen if this system will be fully taken advantage of, it would be a significant boost to the entire Manchester area and the local economy."