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High speed multi-million pound BT network to benefit firms at Manchester’s MediaCityUK


Businesses and residents at the new MediaCityUK development at Salford Quays on Manchester’s waterfront will be connected to one of the most advanced communications networks in the world when the first phase of the £500 million complex is completed in 2011.

Peel Media, the developers and owners of MediaCityUK, today has awarded a multi-million pound, five-year communications and IT contract to BT Business, the division of BT Retail that serves the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses.

All MediaCityUK’s tenants, including the BBC, The University of Salford and Northwest Vision and Media, will be able to benefit from a high capacity, high bandwidth resilient network, designed specifically to meet the needs of the media industry. The new network has the potential to deliver speeds of up to 10 gigabits making the digital hub as connected as media clusters in cities like Dubai and Singapore.

BT Business will design, implement and manage the private network based on optical fibre and Cisco technologies. It will comprise more than 20 million metres of optical fibre cable carrying voice, data, high and standard definition video and wireless communications services.

With some of the UK’s fastest data and file transfer speeds, the powerful communications network will support online users enabling them to use multiple bandwidth-hungry applications and broadcast media transmission, both on and off the site.
The network will enable high definition video to be transferred seamlessly across the site along with high quality business Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, file sharing, movies, digital signage , telepresence, cloud computing, building management services and many more applications and services.

Bryan Gray, chairman, Peel Media, said: “This state-of-the-art communications infrastructure will pave the way for MediaCityUK to become one of the most digitally advanced communities in the world.

“Drawing on BT’s wealth of technical experience and expertise, we are confident this will lead to an exciting partnership and further innovation within the sector.”
Mike Blackburn, BT’s regional director for the North West, said: “With speeds of up to 10 gigabits available on the new purpose-built network, this partnership will provide one of the most advanced communications infrastructures of its kind, tailored to meet the specialist needs of the local media community, which demand higher bandwidth in order to thrive during this exciting digital era.

“It also further demonstrates Greater Manchester’s commitment to driving innovation and enterprise across the region.”

Mark Kummer, managing director of service provider operations, Cisco UK and Ireland, said: “This will be a shining example of what can be achieved when technology is placed at the heart of a landmark development. At Cisco we believe the internet can provide the innovation platform from which Britain can build and maintain a competitive and prosperous knowledge economy, MediaCityUK will be living proof of this.”

Cisco switches will provide a high-capacity, resilient backbone network that links together the principal buildings of the development.

The five-year contract will see BT start network installation later this year.

Today’s announcement is further evidence of how Greater Manchester is leading the digital revolution in the North West.


About MediaCityUK
MediaCityUK is located on Manchester’s spectacular waterfront at Salford Quays. It is being developed and managed by Peel Media, a division of the Peel Group, which is investing £500 million into phase one, due for completion in 2011.

The BBC and the University of Salford have already committed to MediaCityUK. The BBC will re-locate 2,500 staff from Sport, Radio 5 Live, Future Media and Technology, Children’s (including CBeebies and CBBC channels), Formal Learning and all local, regional and network broadcasting currently based in the centre of Manchester.

The University of Salford will create a new higher education centre at the heart of MediaCityUK. More than 800 students and staff are expected to use the campus, which will open in time for the autumn intake of 2011.


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