VIRGIN MEDIA has announced plans to give Manchester businesses a boost with the rollout of 'ultrafast' broadband.
The scheme will see Virgin Media deliver broadband to 3,000 companies in a government-backed technology startup hub in Manchester's Northern Quarter, delivering speeds of up to 1Gbps depending on firms' needs.
Virgin Media said that part of its £75m expansion in the city will involve installing 1Gbps connections in 300 buildings, enabling businesses to opt for a 50Mbps connection for £199 a month, or a 100Mbps connection for £249. Businesses can register their interest on the company's dedicated web page.
Companies can also request an individual leased line option with speeds of up to 1Gbps, although Virgin Media didn't mention how much this will cost. Small businesses will be eligible for a grant from a super connected city voucher scheme.
Virgin Media launched similar packages earlier this year in London's hipster-packed Tech City, in which 450 businesses in 70 buildings were wired up to the firm's 'ultrafast' broadband connections.
Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media Business, said: "A central part of any technology hub is reliable, secure, high-speed internet.
"This can make the difference between thriving and merely surviving for small and medium sized businesses, so I’m thrilled that we’re able to bring Manchester's vibrant business community our latest package with the fastest broadband speeds."
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, added: "Virgin Media Business’ investment in Manchester is very welcome. Quick, reliable broadband is the backbone of our digital economy, transforming the way businesses operate and the services they can provide.
"This announcement represents a bespoke ultra-fast broadband package for small and medium enterprises, and will help support some of Manchester’s most digitally minded and creative businesses."
Virgin Media's announcement comes ahead of a report due to be released tomorrow by the Federation of Small Businesses exploring digital demand among SMEs and the importance of internet access to their business. µ
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