Residents in Salford will be some of the first in the UK to access the next generation of ultrafast broadband, which will be delivered wirelessly and capable of reaching speeds of 6,000 Mbps by 2025.
According to a 2018 report by Ofcom, a comprehensive ultrafast network could mean an additional 4,000 jobs and a £69 million boost to Salford’s economy.
The initial roll-out will see 4,000 premises connected to the network over the next four months, with plans to further increase coverage as the network expands.
The new wireless network is being constructed by Lancashire-based company IX Wireless as part of its expansion throughout the North West, with the broadband delivered to consumers and businesses by internet service provider 6G Internet.
Neil Knighton, communications manager for IX Wireless, said: “The new IX Wireless wireless broadband network will result in Salford having some of the fastest internet in the UK.
“As a gigabit capable town, more residents and businesses will be able to take advantage of technology and services that are at the cutting edge of what is possible.
“We are working hard to ensure the new network is rolled out over the next two years and we’re very excited to see the impact this new technology will have.”
Because the new network is delivered by wireless transmitters installed on roof-tops, telecommunication masts, monopoles and street poles, there will be very few road closures or disruptions commonly associated with digging up roads to lay fibre-optic cables. It also means that residents will be able to get ultrafast broadband without needing a telephone line.
And as part of work to ensure everyone can enjoy the benefits of being online, 6G Internet is also donating 20% of its network usage to social causes. This means less well-off residents will be able to access free basic internet, while the local authority, schools and charities can work with 6G to provide digitally excluded children with daily access to high speed unlimited home internet.
With 6G Internet listed as an approved supplier by the government’s BDUK programme, its expansion in Salford comes as part of wider plans to reach four million homes across the UK by 2022.
Phil Walker, director of finance at 6G Internet, said: “Over the last 15 years, billions of pounds have been invested in research and development for wireless broadband technology. NASA uses it to communicate with its Mars rover, Tesla’s cars use it to update and navigate. Now we are using it to make sure people in Salford can access the internet faster and cheaper than anywhere else in the UK.”
Salford joins Blackburn, Bolton, Accrington, Preston, Blackpool and Manchester as the first towns to be connected to the IX Wireless ultrafast network.