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Thousands in Greater Manchester get access to superfast broadband

Wednesday, February 18th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

More than 4,000 homes and businesses are now able to connect to a superfast broadband network in Greater Manchester.

Green street cabinets in Wigan and Tameside have been upgraded from copper to fibre, allowing residents to access speeds of up to 80Mbps.

The Get Digital Faster programme – a partnership between BT and eight councils in Greater Manchester – was launched in June last year and has already delivered superfast broadband to 16,000 premises.

By March 2016, 8,500 homes and businesses in Wigan and 6,000 in Tameside will have access to superfast speeds.

Wigan Council’s deputy leader, Councillor David Molyneux, said the programme was a key part of the council’s effort to boost the local economy.

“This high speed technology can change business and home life for the better,” he said.

“Work can be done from home or the workplace and this will help to transform the local economy – encouraging businesses to invest in the borough – which is one of our top priorities.”

Tameside Council’s first deputy, Cllr Jim Fitzpatrick, said the switch on was the start of a new future for the borough.

He said: “I’m delighted that Tameside is now starting to roll out high-speed broadband across the borough, which means we will now be able to feel the benefits of the Get Digital Faster programme.

'World's top 20 digital areas'

“Although it is a new project, BT has been busy installing these new cabinets all over the borough, so already, along with our Greater Manchester colleagues we are taking significant steps towards making our county one of the world’s top 20 digital areas by the end of the decade.”

The network will eventually cover 99.4 per cent of the Trafford, Stockport, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside and Wigan council areas when combined with a commercial rollout by various companies, including BT.

Tony Morgan, BT’s Greater Manchester client director, said: “Businesses and homes in Wigan can now join the high speed network age, giving them access to new opportunities for their firms and their families.

“At work and at home people have the chance to link up to a more connected community thanks to the hard work of Openreach engineers and Wigan Council.

“The additional funds from Broadband Delivery UK, the European Regional Development Fund and the coordination from the Transport for Greater Manchester team will ensure the job gets done.”

The North West European Regional Development Fund has provided £4.9 million of funding, BT £4.6 million, £3 million is from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative and the eight councils £2.5 million.

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