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Infrastructure Alliance Extends 10Gbps Fibre Network into Tameside

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 (9:31 am) - Score 1,207
blue fibre optic cable expansion

Gigabit broadband and Ethernet speeds look set to connect public sector sites, businesses and social housing in the metropolitan borough of Tameside. The news comes after a new alliance was formed to help extend The Loop, which is known as Greater Manchester’s largest independent fibre optic network.

At present only around half of premises in Tameside can access “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+) ISP speeds and nearly all of that comes from Virgin Media’s hybrid fibre UK cable (EuroDOCSIS) network, as well as a small amount of Openreach’s (BT) new G.fast technology. Meanwhile Gigabit (1000Mbps+) capable “full fibre” (FTTP) providers have not made any huge inroads into the area.

The good news is that this situation is about to change thanks to a new alliance between Tameside’s Digital Infrastructure Cooperative and The Loop, which is managed by Gamma. The Loop network, which is now 170km long and was revived in 2012 after laying dormant for years (more on that later), currently focuses much of its fibre infrastructure around central Manchester.

Under today’s new agreement The Loop will soon connect to 12km of ducting along the Metrolink tram lines out to Ashton and this will then link into a new fibre network in Tameside, where a further 50km is either complete or under construction.

the loop manchester fibre optic tameside extension map

The significantly extended network claims it will enable “affordable.. superfast internet speeds, more than three hundred times faster than standard broadband” for businesses and public sector organisations in the borough, including Tameside hospital, health clinics, Tameside college buildings and “hundreds” of local businesses (e.g. those around the ‘Ashton Old Baths’ new innovation centre).

On top of that it’s stated that “large social housing schemes“, specifically those owned by the newly merged Jigsaw housing association (formerly New Charter), will also benefit from the new connectivity.

Bill Fairfoull, Tameside Council’s Deputy Leader, said:

“This is the type of technological change and investment that is making our businesses competitive in the 21st century economy. It demonstrates Tameside Council’s commitment to creating an environment that will attract more and more hi-tech companies into the borough.

Almost half of our businesses and properties will be close to a connection working through the new state of the art data centre being built as part of the phase II redevelopment of the Victorian former swimming baths in Ashton-under-Lyne.

Tameside will soon have unrivalled fibre coverage, and internet connectivity speeds that are among the fastest in the country. Through our innovate Digital Cooperative our companies and residents can look forward to a win-win situation where they will have greater choice and lower prices.”

Ashley Griffiths, Managing Director of The Loop, said:

“We always have had fibre in Manchester, Salford and Trafford so it’s great to extend our reach in Greater Manchester and serve the borough of Tameside. It’s been fantastic to work with such a forward-thinking local authority who shares our vision.

This is something that together we have been aspiring to achieve for years, so to reach this point is a major milestone for both Digital Tameside and ourselves. It also aligns perfectly with GMCA’s DCMS LFFN Award (Local Full Fibre Networks) that the Combined Authority won earlier this year to support the role out of fibre to the premises across Greater Manchester. It serves as a shining example of what can be achieved through a more joined up approach to existing digital assets.

The fibre will not only enable Tameside businesses and major public sector buildings to access next generation internet services, but it will open up connections to our wider network including a significant number of data centres and major media hubs such as MediaCityUK and the new St John’s development. This will allow local firms to work more competitively and stay ahead of the game.”

We should point out that The Loop’s original fibre optic cables sat dormant for over a decade until the new network was revived in October 2012 by Gamma. The original cabling was installed by Atlantic Telecom, largely to support the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002, but Atlantic subsequently went into administration. Since 2012 the network has gone through a number of extensions and has effectively doubled in size.

Today The Loop has 170km+ of Dark Fibre under the streets of Manchester and offers connectivity to all of Manchester’s top datacentres and also links Manchester’s main commercial districts including Manchester city centre, the Northern Quarter, Manchester Science Park and MediaCityUK. It also connects to some key buildings including Manchester Central Library, The Sharp Project, and Space Studios.

Meanwhile the Tameside Digital Infrastructure Cooperative (TDIC) consists of companies, organisations and ISPs including ITS Technology, Telcom, TNP, cbn, the local NHS, Network Connect and various other firms.

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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
6 Responses
  1. Avatar glass-half-empty

    Great progress, but a shame that the map doesnt indicate any plans to have more than a single connection between the existing “loop” network and the new Tameside segment…

    Lets hope that the ‘businesses and public sector organisations in the borough, including Tameside hospital, health clinics, Tameside college buildings and “hundreds” of local businesses’ all have a suitably diverse backup connection should anything happen on the “12km of ducting along the Metrolink tram lines out to Ashton”

    • Avatar Lisa Harding

      ITS have a diverse connection from Tameside to our datacentre in Nottingham which give full diversity to the network.

  2. Avatar Craig Seddon

    This will be great for connecting the big businesses tameside council is talking about, like the vast array of take outs and charity shops now in our towns.

    • Avatar Lisa Harding

      SME’s and micro businesses can also benefit from the network, although the footprint is dark fibre ITS have created a fully managed platform across the infrastructure to provide several different products to enable business to access connectivity within their specific requirements and price points.

  3. Avatar Phil Blakeney

    [Admin Note: Comment removed due to commercial spam]

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