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New service emerges for Manchester businesses 'consistently overlooked' by broadband providers

Thursday, January 29th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Businesses in Manchester that have been “consistently overlooked” by broadband providers in the past have flocked to sign up to a new high-speed service in the city.

Some 25 East Manchester businesses have signed up to broadband services from ITS Technology Group’s (ITS) Cityserve network, using funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) business broadband voucher scheme, ITS said.

The BDUK programme aims to get 95% of the UK connected to superfast broadband by 2017. Its Super Connected Cities scheme, launched in 2013, supplies connection vouchers to businesses.

Despite previous criticism over a lack of take-up, in December it was announced that the project, which was due to close in March 2015, would run for another year.

ITS, which acquired ailing wireless internet service provider CityServe in June 2014, said that since carrying out a series of upgrades to the infrastructure, businesses have rushed to sign up.

CEO Roy Shelton said their number one priority was to upgrade the network so existing customers could have a cost effective, reliable service, then to expand the offering to local businesses, offering telephony, IT managed services and CCTV.

He said: “The fact that so many businesses have taken up our services in such a short timeframe demonstrates the demand for superfast services in these areas that have been consistently overlooked in the past.

“ITS specialises in delivering broadband to digitally deprived notspot areas often associated with rural locations, but it is so often the case that many urban areas are suffering from inadequate coverage as well.”

Brentwood Lettings in Moston, Manchester, is one of the 25 businesses to take up the voucher scheme and CityServe’s service, which covers a 25 sq km area.

Manager Joe Beck said the improved connection had “transformed” the way the business works, as it relies on its online presence.

He said: “We were struggling with a really slow connection, which meant uploading property details was slow to complete; and until the CityServe service was made available, we were resigned to things taking far longer than they should.”

In December, Cable.co.uk reported how Shaun Fensom, from the Manchester Digital trade association, had criticised the quality and consistency of broadband available to businesses in Manchester.

Mr Fensom said businesses in the city were able to get gigabit fibre broadband, and get it installed quickly, but only at great cost.

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