Wigan winner as high speed broadband launches town into future world

Almost 3,750 homes and businesses in Wigan now have access to high speed broadband after the official launch of the new network.

The rollout of fibre broadband, the new technology that can transform home and work, was further boosted by the switching on of another Wigan green street cabinet in Ashton-in-Makerfield Around 115 firms and households in the area can now sign up for the service.

The turn on is part of the Get Digital faster programme, delivered across eight council areas*, delivered by Transport for Greater Manchester in partnership with BT. By March 2016 Wigan will have 86 cabinets giving 8,500 homes and businesses access to the network.

Wigan Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor David Molyneux, said the programme was a key part of the council’s effort to boost the local economy.

Councillor Molyneux, said: “This high speed technology can change business and home life for the better. Work can be done from home or the workplace and this will help to transform the local economy – encouraging businesses to invest in the borough – which is one of our top priorities.”

Tony Morgan, who is playing a leading part in the rollout of the Get Digital Faster programme with Wigan Council, said the dedicated group of partners had combined their efforts to make it all possible. Eventually the network will cover 99.4 per cent of the eight-council area when combined with the commercial rollout by various companies including BT.

Tony Morgan, BT’s Greater Manchester Client Director, said: “Businesses and homes in Wigan can now join the high speed network age, giving them access to new opportunities for their firms and their families. At work and at home people have the chance to link up to a more connected community thanks to the hard work of Openreach engineers and Wigan Council. The additional funds from Broadband Delivery UK, the European Regional Development Fund and the coordination from the Transport for Greater Manchester team will ensure the job gets done. ”

Residents and businesses in Wigan can look forward to download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps**.

This will bring benefits to homes and businesses alike. Businesses will be able to conduct their transactions more quickly and efficiently and households will be able to surf the internet, download large files of information, upload photographs, and download music, films and television programmes all at the same time, and more quickly than ever before.

The Get Digital Faster programme, launched in June last year, has already delivered high-speed broadband access for 16,000 across Greater Manchester.

The North West European Regional Development Fund has provided £4.9 million, BT £4.6 million, £3 million is from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative and local councils (Trafford, Stockport, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside and Wigan) £2.5 million. The Get Digital Faster programme is being delivered by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and BT on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

The programme also links into a Business Growth Hub***, which along with local councils will provide businesses with the skills and expertise making the most of the opportunities a sophisticated broadband network will provide.

Work on the Get Digital Faster project is well underway across the region. Engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, are laying around 400 kilometres of optical fibre cable – the equivalent of twice around the Greater Manchester boundary - and installing a total of around 500 new fibre broadband cabinets throughout the area. It is estimated that 150 people involved in delivery will complete more than 500,000 staff hours of work planning and building the network during the lifetime of the project.

The Openreach network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis. When an area has gone ‘live’ for fibre, people need to opt for an upgrade from a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 now operating in the UK.
Residents or businesses who want to find out more about Get Digital Faster can visit www.get-digital.info


Photo caption: Wigan getting digital faster: Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan.
Pictured left to right: Cllr Terry Halliwell, Angela Hornby (BT Get Digital Faster Marketing Team), Cllr David Molyneux (Deputy Leader), Chris Abbott (Openreach Engineer) and Jeremy Bell (Business Development Team)

Press contacts: Graham Taylor, Media Manager, BT NW Press Office 0800 085 0660 email: graham.2.taylor@bt.com or Lucy Downham at Wigan Council press office 01942 827116 email: L.Downham@wigan.gov.uk

1. *The Get Digital Faster project is part financed by the North West European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit

2. ** These are the top wholesale speeds available to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

3. ***Established in 2011 the Business Growth Hub has helped thousands of businesses across Greater Manchester, from established and large companies to start-ups and SME enterprises. Accountable to the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, the Business Growth Hub’s challenge is to ensure that companies across Greater Manchester reach their full potential and are able to access the right support and services to meet their needs.