Sharp adds second broadband provider

Communications business Gamma has introduced high speed internet and telephone services to The Sharp Project, Manchester's creative and digital production complex.

The supply is in addition to superfast broadband connectivity supplied by Cheshire-based NWIX Group. The Sharp Project said having two independent providers creates resilience for business tenants.

The Sharp Project is served by a cable with a total of 48 fibre optic cores connected into the building. Current internet download speeds are around 100megabyte per second with capacity to grow to 1gigabyte per second as requirement increases.

Gamma carries around 13% of UK businesses' voice traffic. Gamma has its UK operational and network management centre in 's Trafford Park where it currently employs 85 people.
Bob Falconer, chief executive of Gamma, said: "We have significant network capacity and coverage in the Manchester area, in some cases, where no other fibre network capacity or capability exists. We have therefore been able to provide high capacity internet and voice services to specific locations, and the Sharp Project is the first of these in the Manchester area. We recognise that Manchester aspires to be the UK's tech city and needs the very best in connectivity to achieve this, and we want to help the city realise this ambition. The number of staff we employ in our management centre at Trafford Park has doubled over the last three years, and we want to continue to grow and invest in this part of the country."

Sue Woodward, Project Director for The Sharp Project said: "Our tenants can now access ultra-fast broadband, a vital requirement for any media based business that needs to send and receive large image and video files quickly and securely. They can also now use high quality IP Telephony services utilising the same connectivity, giving them a much more flexible telephony service than traditional services. Superfast, reliable broadband is vital for digital production businesses to flourish and we have the technology which allows them excel in this increasingly competitive field."

The Sharp Project totals 200,000 sq ft of refurbished warehouse space, home to over 50 digital entrepreneurs and production companies. The £16.5m development is owned by Manchester City Council and was completed in June 2011. It was funded by Manchester City Council, the North West Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund.

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