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Greater Manchester appoints partners to spearhead digital revolution across public estate

Greater Manchester appoints partners to spearhead digital revolution across public estate

GREATER Manchester is launching a new partnership to revolutionise data connectivity between schools, community centres, fire stations and other public locations.

The partnership has been formed to deliver Greater Manchester One Network (GM One Network) – a single network infrastructure across several public sector organisations which will make network services more efficient, secure and flexible.

The partnership currently includes Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Bury Councils; Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM); Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue (GMFRS) and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), who are set to work together with Cisco and Engage ESM to provide faster and more resilient data connections to over 1,300 public sites in the city-region including many schools, community centres, fire stations and traffic control signals. Additional suppliers are expected to be announced in the coming months.

The creation of GM One Network supports Greater Manchester’s ambition to be a world class digital city-region and is one example of the “do things once” approach for Greater Manchester, resulting in cost savings and service improvements for our residents and communities, by streamlining systems and reducing waste, which has been a key objective of this collaboration.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester said:

This is a huge achievement for Greater Manchester’s public sector and really demonstrates the value of collaboration. Through transforming our public services we are boosting our towns and cities, cementing our position as a world leading digital-city-region. Ensuring our services are more efficient supports our ambition that everyone in Greater Manchester, whatever their age, location or situation, can benefit from the opportunities digital brings.

As well as delivering considerable savings over a 10-year period, the initiative includes a comprehensive, multi-year social value programme, including support for start-up businesses in Greater Manchester to create new products and services that deliver positive outcome for communities. Outcomes such as business mentoring, co-development of new products and university led research. Other commitments will include the creation of apprenticeship and mentoring opportunities across the region and supporting efforts to tackle the digital divide in Greater Manchester, such as through the Greater Manchester Databank.

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, GMCA Portfolio Lead for Education, Skills, Work, Apprenticeships and Digital, said: 

We’re ensuring that Greater Manchester has the digital infrastructure it needs to be a world class digital city-region. For our people, having the right infrastructure in place can remove barriers to social, economic and public sector reform objectives. It’s great that once again, our partnerships with the private sector include strong social value commitments, that will be of real benefit to our people across the region. I’m pleased to see progress in this space that continues to ensure citizens across Greater Manchester can benefit for the opportunities that digital brings.

Public sector infrastructure and networks haven’t changed much in the last 25 years, however the amount of interconnectivity between public sector organisations has increased as we work more closely together, making GM One Network an important and vital project for our region.

Adele Every, Head of Public Sector, Cisco UK & Ireland, which will design, implement and operate the network on behalf of the involved partners, said:

How regions design and deploy networks today will underpin the experiences of people across the UK for decades to come. GM One Network will enable new ways of working; it will underpin how public sector organisations in Greater Manchester deliver services, supporting collaboration across the public sector and crucially, goes beyond the technology, with the creation of an ecosystem to build the skills and programmes that will ensure that everyone in Greater Manchester can benefit. We’re delighted to be working with GMCA and the wider set of public and private sector partners on what we believe will create a blueprint for cities and regions around the world.

GM One Network is an exciting programme with the potential to elevate Greater Manchester’s digital ambitions. The network builds on Greater Manchester’s Local Full Fibre Network – delivering over 2,000km of new fibre optic broadband infrastructure across the region. It will act as a catalyst for many smart city projects and unlock further delivery of priorities in line with the Greater Manchester Digital Blueprint and the city-region’s position as world leading digital city-region.

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