Greater Manchester opens tender for ‘GM One Network’

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), and partner authorities across Greater Manchester, have issued a tender to find a supplier for its ‘GM One Network’, a single active network infrastructure across the region’s public sector sites.

GMCA contracted UBDS to undertake a discovery and develop an outline business case for the GM One Network, exploring options for the design, implementation, management and maintenance of a network platform to initially utilise up to 2,700km of ‘dark fibre’ connecting circa 1,200 public sector sites across the Greater Manchester region.

The aspiration is for the GM One Network Platform to become the network of choice for services in Greater Manchester region, offering:

  • A secure, software defined, network for each partnering organisation, within the overall next-generation integrated network
  • High speed resilient access to the internet and ‘cloud’ services
  • Secure interconnectivity between GM public sector organisations
  • Single automation and orchestration layer with appropriate monitoring and management access for each partner organisation’s operations teams.

The tender comes as part of the Greater Manchester Digital Strategy, an ambitious programme hoped to support the region to be “a place where anything digital is possible and putting Manchester on the map for digital work and life.”

Its strategy has five priorities; empowering people, enabling innovative public services, digitally enabling business, creating and scaling digital business, and being a global digital influencer, underpinned by an ambition to ensure the region has ‘world class’ digital infrastructure.

The region recently secured Government backing for full-fibre investment, with Virgin Media Business appointed to deliver up to 2,700km of new fibre optic broadband infrastructure. The £23.8M Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) Programme, plus other local investment, will connect more than 1,500 public sites across the city-region.

GMCA said: “Whilst the LFFN programme is laying the foundations for a network of world class infrastructure, each of the organisations involved needs to consider how best to make use of that investment. The programme demonstrates the value of close collaboration between GMCA, Greater Manchester’s local authorities, Fire & Rescue Services and Transport for Greater Manchester and and subsequently those partners agreed to investigate the potential benefits of further collaboration to utilising a network without bandwidth limitations.”

“GM One Network was the result of those investigations, to create a single active network infrastructure across a significant number of Greater Manchester’s public sector organisations.”

It is also hoped the programme will deliver ‘a common and consistent platform for each organisation to use, and as users seamlessly move between public spaces’ and ‘accelerate modern working practices’. It’s built on a ‘do things once’ approach for Greater Manchester, said to remove the need for an individual approach in each local authority.

GMCA are currently looking for a supplier for GM One Network. Find the details on the the tender process and requirements here. Applications close at 12pm on 28 May 2021.