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Businesses across the north-west of England are still having to contend with ‘patchy access’ to superfast speeds, according to new research.

A study conducted by Deloitte found there were substantial variations in speed across the region, particularly when compared to last year's survey.

The business advisory firm examined the broadband connections available to businesses across Manchester and Liverpool, finding there was limited access to superfast speeds, while there were no locations able to enjoy the fastest fibre connections.

The research mainly focused on a number of key business areas across the region, including Spinningfields, Old Hall Street and Manchester Science Parks, examining whether they could access superfast fibre optic broadband, specifically fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC).

Out of the 12 locations analysed by the study, only four (Sharp Project, Little Peter Street, Cheadle Royal, Birchwood Park) were found to have access to FTTC, while none were benefitting from FTTP.

Simon Hearne, senior manager in Deloitte’s North West TMT team, said investing in fibre coverage would therefore have to be a priority for the government in order to ensure the region can live up to its potential.

He added: “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."

Jodi Birkett, TMT partner at Deloitte in the north west, said that if unaddressed, the situation risked harming the government's plan to create what it has coined the 'northern powerhouse'.

“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’,” she said.

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