Press releases

Patchy fibre broadband access hampering NW firms

1 October 2015

  • New Deloitte research brings ‘broadband lottery’ to the fore
  • No key business locations in the region able to enjoy the fastest fibre connections

North West businesses are still playing a broadband lottery with patchy access to superfast speeds across the region, according to research from Deloitte.

A year on from its last broadband study – which found massive variations in speeds across the North West – the business advisory firm has examined the types of broadband available in key business locations across Manchester and Liverpool. The results show limited access to superfast speeds with no locations able to enjoy the fastest fibre connections as standard.

Jodi Birkett, TMT partner at Deloitte in the North West said: “Broadband speed is a big issue for businesses. With the rise of cloud computing the need for high internet speeds has become more acute and a slow connection can have a serious impact on business productivity. The state of play in Manchester and Liverpool doesn’t make for good reading and it needs improving if we want to create a true ‘northern powerhouse’.”

The research looked at whether key business areas – including Spinningfields, Old Hall Street and Manchester Science Parks – had access to superfast fibre optic broadband, specifically fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC).

Traditional copper-based broadband depends on distance from the exchange to the building, leading to much slower speeds. FTTP is the fastest option, with end-to-end fibre optic connection the full distance from the exchange to the building. On the other hand, FTTC sees fibre optic cables run from a distribution point to street cabinets, and finally to a standard phone line to provide broadband.

Of the 12 locations analysed, only four could benefit from FTTC (Sharp Project, Little Peter Street, Cheadle Royal, Birchwood Park) while none had access to FTTP.

Simon Hearne, senior manager in Deloitte’s North West TMT team said: “Some larger businesses have the cash reserves to put fibre down themselves, while others can share faster connections they have in different parts of the country through Ethernet services. However for smaller companies, slower connections can be a real issue. For instance, businesses in the creative industries typically deal with lots of images and video – large data that needs fast connection speeds.”

“Fibre coverage is a priority for the government and there has been plenty of investment in recent years, but it’s not yet benefited all businesses on the ground. It would be a big win in terms of productivity gains for the whole North West economy and needs to remain high up the agenda.”


Notes to editors

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Sally Hardiman
Deloitte LLP
+44 016 1455 8206
+44 079 2020 7457

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