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Manchester city centre to enjoy enhanced mobile signal following new connectivity agreement

Residents, visitors and businesses in Manchester city centre and surrounding areas will soon be enjoying enhanced mobile connectivity from Virgin Media O2 thanks to a new agreement between Freshwave and Manchester City Council.

Connectivity infrastructure-as-a-service provider Freshwave will be deploying more than 20 outdoor small cells on behalf of Virgin Media O2 in busy areas of the city, including outside the Arndale Shopping Centre, Manchester Piccadilly Station and Piccadilly Gardens.

In busy urban areas such as city centres, the large number of people all using their mobile phones at once can place a high demand on the mobile network. Outdoor small cells help meet some of the demand at street level, relieving the wider network and providing a better mobile service for customers.

Outdoor small cells are often fixed to existing street furniture, such as lampposts, so are ideal for boosting mobile capacity in busy areas without increasing clutter on the streets. They’ll be connected to Virgin Media O2’s fibre network which will carry the data to and from the internet. These small cells will immediately enhance 4G signal and are also 5G ready.

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Finance and Resources at Manchester City Council, said: “Everyone in Manchester deserves to benefit from high quality, reliable digital infrastructure. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Freshwave and Virgin Media O2 to bring convenient, fair, and equitable connectivity to more people in our city. We believe that this agreement is a significant step towards achieving the aims set out in our Digital Strategy for 2021-26, which outlines our ambitious vision to build a more digitally enabled future for Manchester. By enhancing communication, improving access to vital services, and driving economic growth, improved connectivity will make a transformative difference to the lives of businesses, residents, and visitors alike.”

Steven Verigotta, Director of Mobile Delivery at Virgin Media O2, said: “We are committed to bringing the best experience possible to our customers no matter where they are. Small cells are an important part of this strategy, helping to boost capacity for customers in some of the busiest areas.

“With upgrade programmes underway right across our network, we’re working hard to ensure our customers consistently receive an exceptional experience wherever they are and even at the busiest times.”

Nick Wiggin, Freshwave’s Head of Partnerships, said: “This agreement is an exciting step forward in Manchester’s digital ambitions. We want to stay connected no matter where we are, whether at home or on the go in the city centre, and Freshwave are always pleased to work with partners in bringing assured connectivity to where it’s needed.”

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Lisa Baker is Group Editor for the Need to See IT Publishing Group. Lisa writes about HR, Technology, Health, the Environment and Business.
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