Superfast broadband to make a presence in Greater Manchester

Council leaders have said Greater Manchester will have the “best digital infrastructure in the UK” by 2021 after announcing plans to introduce a £23 million superfast broadband network in the ten boroughs within the city.

The government-sponsored project will make use of fibre optic cables to deliver speeds of more than 1Gbps directly to sites. In addition to this, the infrastructure is also expected to be used in the deployment of 5G networks over the coming years.

Roughly 1,300 public sector sites, 580 local authority locations, and 33 fire and rescue zones will be connected as part of the initiative.

Council leader Sean Fielding commented on the plan, saying: “High-speed connectivity is something that is a real asset if we want to look to grow business in the borough and so this is to be welcomed.”

It has been estimated that the creation of the infrastructure will generate a private finance investment of £200 million or more and could contribute £2.1 billion to the Greater Manchester economy over the span of 15 years.

Funds are expected to be put towards highway assets like CCTV cameras and traffic signals, and will make incident and traffic management capabilities faster and more efficient.

Councillor Abdul Jabbar, the portfolio holder for finance, described the initiative, saying: “It’s fantastic news because when this is completed – the timetable for that is March 2021 which is about 18 months from now – then we will have the state-of-the-art full-fibre network connection in the borough which will obviously be a very, very good thing not just for residents but for businesses as well.

“We’re part of the Greater Manchester family and they’ve done really well to secure this money from the government.”

Of the total investment, £60,000 will be put towards project management to oversee the allocation of funds and that the initiative is delivered in a timely manner.