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.

Despite the challenges of Covid-19, with work due to start as the UK’s first national lockdown was announced, rapid progress has been made and a report released in March 2021 shows significant local economic benefits of the work to date, with £12m of overall local economic value (direct and indirect) for year one. These figures have been generated using the Greater Manchester Forecasting Model, which estimates GVA (gross value added) and the numbers of employees/employment per sector. Read more on how Greater Manchester's digital infrastructure investments have delivered £12m economic benefit in year one.

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

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