Next phase of GM fibre roll-out agreed

High-speed fibre broadband will be offered to a further 39,000 homes and businesses in Greater Manchester by the end of March 2016, under a £15m partnership between eight local authorities and BT.

Stockport, Bolton, Wigan, Bury, Tameside, Oldham, Trafford and Rochdale Councils are working with BT to supply superfast broadband to town centres and key business districts.

The plans could see an £80m boost to Greater Manchester's economy and the creation of around 500 new jobs, according to an economic impact study undertaken by Regeneris in September 2013.

BT is contributing £4.6m towards the overall cost of deployment in non-commercial areas, and the eight councils are investing £2.5m. The European Regional Development Fund is contributing nearly £5m, with a further £3m coming from the Government's Broadband Delivery UK fund.

The partnership builds on BT's ongoing commercial fibre deployment which will bring fibre broadband to nearly 1m premises in Greater Manchester by the end of spring 2014, with more than 900,000 homes and businesses already passed with fibre.

Eamonn Boylan, chief executive of Stockport Council, lead local authority for the project, said: "We want to see Greater Manchester become one of the world's top digital cities by 2020. The eight local authority areas, with their active local business communities, will play a crucial role in this.

"Access to fast and reliable broadband is becoming increasingly important for homes and businesses. These proposals would ensure local businesses can make the most of digital technology – boosting the local economy, generating growth, creating jobs and attracting further investment."

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