Home Manchester The Village gets ‘ultra-fast’ internet in time for more than 180,000 visitors...

The Village gets ‘ultra-fast’ internet in time for more than 180,000 visitors expected at this year’s famous Manchester Pride festival

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Davina White

Visitors to Manchester’s famous Pride Festival in August can expect ‘ultrafast’ broadband thanks to a fast-growing Manchester-based technology firm.

GLEEfi (Gay Lesbian Everyone Everywhere) is the new superfast Wi-Fi broadband product being installed through 1GB internet pipes based in key locations in the village by business support firm OneTek Business Solutions.

It means visitors to the world famous Gay Village can expect speeds up to 1GB, putting it in the top 1 per cent of internet speeds in the UK. Currently, public WiFi in the village runs at around 2MB – 6MB meaning that speeds are sluggish during peak times.

The Manchester Pride Festival runs over the August Bank Holiday weekend and features performances from artists including Pete Tong, 808 State and Alexandra Burke.

Davina White, Business Development Manager at OneTek, said: “One of the longstanding issues in the village has been the slow, snail-paced internet speeds especially during peak hours and events like the Manchester Pride Festival. We are delighted to have worked with some iconic venues and business owners in the village to install and deliver as a community based project and offer access to more than 100,000 people at Manchester Pride and throughout the rest of the year, ultrafast connectivity.

“Every business relies on reliable excellent connectivity especially where point-of-sale equipment relies on it. We are on a mission to roll out our ultrafast WiFi solution to other events across the UK. We are already in talks with other LGBT specific festivals, music festivals and communities.

“The village has always been one of Manchester’s most innovative and entrepreneurial destinations and we are proud to be playing a small part in continuing that tradition of bringing new and emerging trends to the area.”

OneTek was launched in 2008 by Lee Donaghey and provides WiFi solutions to villages, towns and community spaces across the country and as well as IT support to businesses of all sizes. The company head quartered in Winsford, Cheshire has offices in Stoke and Stockport.

Access to GLEEfi for the whole Pride weekend will cost £5 (£4 if bought online before) with proceeds being shared by venues, OneTek and 5 per cent each to four Manchester-based charities popular in the LGBT community: George House Trust, The Proud Trust, Sparkle and the Albert Kennedy Trust.

Phil Burke, Chair of the Village Business Association, said: “This is a very welcome community initiative that benefits everyone. As well as visitors, local businesses in the village and charities close to our hearts will all reap the rewards. Internet speed has been an issue in the village for quite some time now and we are supportive of new initiatives to give village-based businesses a commercial advantage.”

Kim Eivind Krohn, Managing Director of KRO Hospitality, said: “Manchester Pride Festival is the highlight of the year for hundreds of thousands of people who visit the Village.

“Velvet Hotel and our new restaurant Mr. White’s Chophouse will be a hub of activity and fun during the event, with many friends and family meeting up so it’s important they can remain in contact as the festivities get underway.

“The implementation of the ultra-fast internet will mean our guests can enjoy communicating on social media, or with each other throughout the event, and as a business we can improve the service we provide for our customers.”

Jack Williamson of Richmond Tea Rooms on Richmond Street and Eagle Bar, added: “We are excited about seeing the effect of faster broadband speeds in the villages. We’re confident it will be good for business even long after the festival has finished when people realise they can get the fastest WiFi speeds in the city here in the village.”

Jordan Allison of Bar Pop on Canal Street, added: “It’s long overdue. We are delighted that the frustration of slow internet speeds in the village is finally being resolved. We expect to serve more than 10,000 drinks over the weekend and being able to process card payments swiftly and safely is a priority for us.”