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The new Manchester fibre-optic network has been described as "a significant move by the city".

Dan Grabham, editor of TechRadar.com, said the scheme - which will see high-speed broadband brought to the Oxford Road area of the city - will help attract new businesses to the north-west of England.

Noting that the acquisition of North West Development Agency funding is clever, he said he could certainly see other cities following Manchester's example if the project is successful.

Mr Grabham's only concern was over the "piecemeal approach" often taken by localised fibre networks, which he claimed could add to an emerging digital divide in the UK.

"Obviously such schemes have to be paid for and if similar models are adopted elsewhere then rural areas will lose out," he added.

However, the benefits of faster broadband for businesses and consumers in the Manchester area should be celebrated, he suggested.

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