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Virgin Media Business is rolling out its services to 3,000 businesses in Manchester as part of the company's targeted expansion in the city.

Originally announced in July, the £75 million project will eventually help to provide ultrafast broadband to 150,000 Manchester premises, with the latest update confirming that 300 buildings in the city's Northern Quarter will soon benefit from faster speeds.

After a similar project proved successful in London's Tech City, the decision was made to roll out ultrafast services in the north as part of wider expansion plans under the £3 billion Project Lightning scheme, which aims to increase Virgin Media's cable network to 17 million premises by 2020.

Virgin Media Business Managing Director Peter Kelly said reliable, high-speed internet is a "central part" of any technology hub.

"This can make the difference between thriving and merely surviving for small and medium sized businesses, so I’m thrilled we’re able to bring Manchester’s vibrant business community our latest package with the fastest broadband speeds," he added.

The rollout is also being assisted by the government’s infrastructure support project, the UK Guarantees Scheme, which helps such projects to raise debt finance, and has been welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Mike Cherry, FSB Director of Policy, said it is vital that economic growth is encouraged across the whole of the UK, particularly in the "northern powerhouse" where there is so much potential waiting to be unlocked.

He added: “Small businesses are the backbone of the economy. This sort of investment is essential if we are to encourage greater job creation and growth outside London and the south east."

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