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Greater Manchester is improving digital assets with a new communications network being implemented by digital infrastructure specialist Telent in partnership with Cisco to give public sector organisations across the region easier and faster access to digital services.
The Digital Blueprint for Greater Manchester outlines ambitions to become a world-class digital city-region. The blueprint sets out a number of priorities including ensuring everyone in the region can safely access and benefit from the opportunities digital brings, such as accessing relevant online public services. It also commits to helping the residents of Greater Manchester become confident internet users.
One of the key goals laid out in this framework was building out world-class digital infrastructure for the region and leveraging network assets across the public sector. Part of this is the Greater Manchester (GM) One Network, which aims to create faster and more resilient data connections to more than 1,300 public sites across the city-region, including many schools, community centres, fire stations and traffic control signals.
GMCA is deploying a “do things once” approach, which it said will provide a single active network across Greater Manchester with separate virtual networks for each organisation. It aims to provide cost savings – eliminating the need for individual networks and infrastructure services – and service improvements by streamlining systems and reducing duplication.
Telent said that it was selected to assist with the design, build and management of the GM One Network for Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and other partners including Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) and Bury, Rochdale, Stockport and Oldham local authorities.
The core network is close to completion and has a current backbone speed of 100G with a design that allows expansion and adoption of 400G and above speeds in the future on the current platform. This will support all public sector organisations in the region, with the first of the 1,300 locations being connected to the new network in early 2024.
“Reliable and fast connectivity is essential for businesses and public services to operate efficiently and for people to engage effectively with these services,” said Telent CEO Jo Gretton. “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to provide our expertise in delivering the GM One Network to fulfil the region’s ambitious digital transformation.”
Councillor Nick Peel, GMCA portfolio lead for digital city-region, added: “I’m pleased to see continued collaborative work and the delivery of a multi-year social value programme for organisations and our people across Greater Manchester through programmes like GM One Network programme.
“This includes business mentoring, creation of apprenticeship opportunities, and support for startup businesses to build new products and services. The work Telent is doing in this space supports our aim to tackle the digital divide and will enable Greater Manchester to continue to grow as a world leading digital city-region.”
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