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The Commonwealth Games network that’s still supercharging Manchester businesses

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Remember the 2002 Commonwealth Games? Whether you were a spectator or simply watched the proceedings on TV, if you indeed watched the Games, you can probably attest to how well they lit up Manchester, both literally and metaphorically – and they left a proud and lasting legacy, too.

Much of this legacy can still be seen around the city, in the form of sports amenities including a swimming complex, squash and basketball centres and even the home stadium of Manchester City Football Club. However, the Games also gifted Manchester firms a rather more surprising legacy…

Many success stories for Manchester’s business scene

It isn’t hard to see how the Manchester business scene has flourished since the Games. In 2008, Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan took over Manchester City FC, ushering in the creations of a training centre plus, as The Telegraph reports, a British hub of Etihad Airways in Manchester.

The club’s ambition also led Hays to set up in Manchester and become the club’s official recruitment partner. Hays is far from the only business that has established a presence in the city since the Games; for example, The Loop, owned by telecoms giant Gamma, launched in 2012.

That year, The Loop took up fibre optic cables originally fitted under Greater Manchester roads by Atlantic Telecom in support of the Games. However, due to Atlantic’s subsequent entry into administration, the cabling was left untouched until The Loop’s launch in 2012.

Businesses can stay in the loop with The Loop

The importance of digital connectivity to businesses is difficult to overstate. With high bandwidth connectivity, companies can more easily and consistently communicate well with their customers – and The Loop already provides a fibre network of over 170km across the region.

Both public and private sector organisations can tap into the ultrafast internet access and direct data centre connectivity which The Loop specialises in providing. Today, the company’s network circles the city centre while reaching places as far-flung as Eccles, Oldham, Stretford and Gorton.

Ashley Griffiths, The Loop’s managing director, told Manchester Evening News: “Manchester has a great deal to be proud of, particularly in terms of its globally acclaimed data centre provision and enviable position of being the fastest growing digital economy outside London.”

However, he acknowledged that both Manchester and the UK currently fall far short of full fibre coverage. Griffiths explained that full fibre connectivity would allow businesses “more effective access to an ever-increasing number of mission-critical cloud-based applications and services.”

Fortunately, it looks like the digital divide locally could be closed as soon as 2020, given the ambitious goal of Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, to make the area one of European’s top five global digital city regions by that point.

With The Loop wholly owning an independent and far-reaching network of dark fibre in Manchester, it might be the best time in recent memory for businesses to set up new bases in the city and so enable themselves to extensively tap into this network’s potential.



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