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MetroNet UK Criticise Deloitte Claim of Patchy Manchester Broadband

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 (1:40 pm) - Score 561
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The CEO of Metronet UK, Elliot Mueller, has described a recent report from Deloitte (here), which warned that slow and patchy broadband was leaving smaller businesses in Manchester at a disadvantage, as being “fundamentally wrong and damaging” after it ignored alternative connectivity methods.

Readers may recall that ISPreview.co.uk raised similar concerns about the report, which examined 12 key business locations in Manchester and Liverpool only to find that just 4 (Sharp Project, Little Peter Street, Cheadle Royal, Birchwood Park) could access an ‘up to’ 80Mbps capable FTTC service and none were able to get ultrafast FTTP.

The obvious problem with this conclusion is from an assumption that the only products available have to be FTTC or FTTP, but what about leased lines or Virgin Media’s cable network? Likewise Metronet UK, which is based in Manchester, operates its own independent hybrid superfast fibre optic and wireless broadband network.

Elliot Mueller told ISPreview.co.uk:

Manchester and Liverpool are home to some of the most competitive areas in the country for telecoms, with a more vigorous market, more active suppliers and a wider range of technologies in use than in many other parts of the country. The government’s broadband voucher scheme has seen millions being spent on connectivity in the region, primarily aimed at SMEs and it has been making a notable difference.

Of course, nothing is perfect, we accept that the superfast rollout is not ubiquitous and that not all SMEs can get the speeds that they want at the price they are used to paying for broadband at home, and Deloitte is right to highlight this fact on behalf of the business community. However, the way this research has been misquoted is fundamentally wrong and damaging to our city regions’ growing digital economies.”

Mueller notes that one of the areas in Manchester, where superfast broadband is apparently deemed not to be available, is the Manchester Science Partnership’s (MSP) central campus (a popular area for businesses). But the limited scope of Deloitte’s report did not see that an existing 10Gbps private fibre optic ring network from Metronet UK was already serving the area.

Rowena Burns, CEO of MSP, added:

MSP has been working with a local provider for some years to provide equivalent broadband products that provide better speeds and service quality than traditional fibre services. High speed connectivity is as vital to our customers as gas, water and electricity and we have planned and invested heavily in our ability to meet companies’ needs now and in the future.”

Suffice to say that Mueller would like to see a report that takes a proper look at all of the available connectivity options in any given area. At the same time we’d add that one of the reasons for such reports being unable to see beyond the most common forms of connectivity is because business ISPs often fail to provide enough public information about their services.

The lack of information is one that Ofcom has also highlighted. Admittedly this is understandable where complex leased line solutions and bigger businesses are concerned (i.e. they’re specific to each individual client and may require significant street works), but for smaller businesses such solutions are simply too expensive.

In an ideal world we’d love to do a comparison of business broadband services from smaller ISPs, but this is neigh on impossible when providers can’t even clearly communicate the basics about their network availability and service prices in public. The standard practice is to hide such information behind a “Click to get a Quote” button, which is unnecessary for a great many connectivity methods.

Little wonder that so many smaller businesses choose a domestic broadband solution instead of a potentially superior alternative, because at least that way they can see what they’re going to get and without filling in lots of forms first.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark

    AFAIK there’s still nowhere you can go to find out what broadband services are available in an area across multiple providers.

    Many consumers will go to the comparison websites and so only find BT and Virgin Media.

    For business – if I were looking to rent an office in Manchester, how on earth would I know that Metro Net have any presence?

    The government will have this problem come back to bite them when it comes to using alt-nets with BDUK since there doesn’t seem to be a plan to create a ‘what can I get in my area’ type website..?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Sounds like a good business venture DTMark, why don’t you keep that one to yourself and ask Mark to delete the post before anyone else see’s it 😉

      Seriously tho… I don’t know if such a service exists, sounds like a gap in the market for someone to fill.

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