We will ensure that Greater Manchester has the digital infrastructure it needs to be a world class digital city region.

  • Remove bandwidth as a barrier to our social, economic and public sector reform objectives.
  • Deliver ubiquitous high speed digital connectivity over full fibre and 4G & 5G mobile across the whole city region by 2025.
  • Accelerate market investment by:
    • Extending network reach by connecting over 1500 public sector sites and assets with Full Fibre across Greater Manchester
    • Making public sector buildings and other assets available for infrastructure to support 5G roll out
    • Driving market investment in fibre and mobile by minimizing roll out costs through a prospectus agreed by Greater Manchester local authorities

Projects

Greater Manchester Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Programme

In March 2020, we secured world-class digital infrastructure through biggest government full-fibre investment in the UK, through the appointment of Virgin Media Business up to 2,700km of new fibre optic broadband infrastructure will be delivered across the region. The £23.8M Local Full Fibre Networks Programme will connect more than 1,500 public sites across the city-region.

In addition, some sites in Salford and Manchester will see their connectivity upgraded and a further 36 public sites will be connected through the innovative Tameside Cooperative, enhancing Greater Manchester’s position as a leading European digital city region.

This is the result of close partnership working between Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester’s local authorities, Fire & Rescue Services and Transport for Greater Manchester and is backed by millions of pounds of funding from central government.

This new investment, plus existing local authority investments in digital infrastructure, make this the UK’s largest Local Full Fibre Networks Programme and will underpin a wide range of digital transformation and smart city projects.

The deal also includes a number of bold investments in social value initiatives that support the Digital Blueprint, including a commitment from Virgin Media Business to directly create 20 apprenticeships based in Greater Manchester, as well as investing in digital and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)skills for young people. Social value benefits will also be achieved through supporting Greater Manchester wide priorities including homelessness, digital inclusion and education, volunteering in communities.

Through this programme, Virgin Media Business have already supported the Greater Manchester Technology Fund, providing learners at risk of digital isolation with the technology and connectivity needed to continue their learning at home while schools and colleges remain closed and donated £50,000 to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NOTE: Greater Manchester localities can download the LFFN communication toolkit.