An elevated view of Media City UK as it will look in 2011

Media City agrees BT contract, gets games centre

Michael Hunt

Peel Media, the developers and owners of Media City UK, has awarded a communications and IT contract to BT Business, a division of BT Retail that serves the UK's small and medium-sized businesses.

The contract means all Media City UK's tenants, including the BBC, The University of Salford and Northwest Vision and Media, will be able to benefit from a high capacity, high bandwidth resilient network, designed specifically to meet the needs of the media industry.

The new network has the potential to deliver speeds of up to 10 gigabits making the digital hub as connected as media clusters in cities like Dubai and Singapore.

Bryan Gray, chairman at Peel Media, said: "This state-of-the-art communications infrastructure will pave the way for Media City UK to become one of the most digitally advanced communities in the world.

"Drawing on BT's wealth of technical experience and expertise, we are confident this will lead to an exciting partnership and further innovation within the sector."

Mark Kummer, managing director of service provider operations, Cisco UK and Ireland, added: "This will be a shining example of what can be achieved when technology is placed at the heart of a landmark development. At Cisco we believe the internet can provide the innovation platform from which Britain can build and maintain a competitive and prosperous knowledge economy, Media City UK will be living proof of this."

Cisco switches will provide a high-capacity, resilient backbone network that links together the principal buildings of the development.

The five year contract will see BT start network installation later this year and Peel Media said businesses and residents at the new Salford Quays development will be connected when the first phase of the £500m complex is completed in 2011.

Meanwhile, the Government is giving £1m to create a new centre of excellence for the UK video games industry to be based at Media City UK.

The investment is part of the Government's £3.5m support for two centres of excellence to build on the UK's global reputation and help ensure that UK firms are best placed to exploit the growing multi-billion pound global market.

As well as the centre in Media City UK, there will be a second centre at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the North West Development Agency, said: "The games centre of excellence, based within the Media Enterprise Centre, will help small companies to get their ideas in front of publishers and distributors in a new way and open up new market opportunities. By utilising the NorthernNet infrastructure, which is now live with bureaus across the North, we can really spread the benefits of Media City UK across the entire north of England."

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