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Virgin Media’s Manchester Dark Fibre Build Generates £12m Boost

Thursday, March 25th, 2021 (12:41 pm) - Score 1,392
Fiber Optic cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports

UK ISP Virgin Media (Business) has announced that their £23.8m deployment of a new 2,700km long “full fibre” network in Greater Manchester, which was designed to connect 1,700 public sector sites, is now “substantially complete” and is estimated to have already delivered an £11.8m economic boost to the local economy.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) officially chose Virgin Media for their Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) project last March (here), with the aim being to connect 1,500 public service sites in Bury, Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Trafford and Wigan. Plus 180 public sites in Salford and Manchester have also benefitted.

Overall, around 97% of the new infrastructure has been provided via existing ducting and the programme has also exceeded its local employment targets, with 75% of the workforce behind the delivery of the full fibre network being based in Greater Manchester.

We should point out that this is separate from Virgin Media’s consumer broadband network in Greater Manchester, which already covers more than 860,000 premises (including 145,000 premises added since 2015 as part of a £100m investment under Project Lightning). Most local homes can now access average download speeds of up to 1,130Mbps via their DOCSIS 3.1 powered service.

Peter Kelly, MD of VMB, said:

“This investment in future-proof connectivity is enabling residents and businesses across the region to benefit from new digital services, better employment opportunities, and a more integrated and efficient public sector which is transforming lives.”

Councillor Sean Fielding said:

“The Local Full Fibre Network programme demonstrates services designed to serve the majority as well as our future generations. Our people should be able to benefit from everything that being part of a digital city region brings.

This programme will future proof our connectivity for the next 30 years and supports the work we are doing in Greater Manchester to make public sector services more efficient and sets a standard to better ways of doing.”

Surprisingly, given the headline claim, the operator’s announcement doesn’t actually provide any details of how the £11.8m figure for economic benefit (in year one of delivery) was arrived at, which is important because we know from experience that it can be incredibly hard to accurately model the economic benefits of faster data speeds.

Instead, we’re told that the figure reflects overall local economic value (direct and indirect) for year one. “These figures have been generated using the Greater Manchester Forecasting Model, which estimates GVA (gross value added) and the numbers of employees/employment per sector,” says the announcement. Fine, but a bit more detail than that is needed for substantiation.

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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
1 Response
  1. Sam says:

    Stories like this just make it more frustrating that Virgin recently dug up our street in the shadow of the Etihad Stadium & Under-Construction-Largest-Arena-In-Europe ‘Co-Op Live’ and refused to give any of the residents (Houses or Flats, Council, Social Housing, Private, Freehold and Leasehold) access stating this particular bit was for ‘Business only’ – even though thousands of residential properties barely 100m away have been added over the last six months.

    To literally have our doorsteps dug up and refused service just seems rude…

    (and usual ‘Set up a Community Fibre Partnership @ £10,000 – £100,000k’ Nonsense from BT doesn’t help)

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