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GMCA progresses proposal for Manchester public services network

25/02/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has moved forward with the proposal for a public services network for the city region.

Lights across network nodes

It has published a prior information notice as a follow-up to an initial indication in August of last year, outlining a plan for a GM One Network at an estimated cost of £30 million.

While not fully committing to the idea, it says the authority, along with the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, is exploring options for the design, implementation and management of a network platform.

This would provide connections for around 1,200 public sector sites in the region and light up to 2,700 km of dark fibre for leasing by third parties.

“The aspiration is for the GM One Network Platform to become the network of choice for services in Greater Manchester region,” the notice says.

Components

It outlines key components as a secure, software defined network for each partnering organisation, high speed resilient access to internet and cloud services, secure connectivity between Greater Manchester’s public sector organisations, and a single automation and orchestration layer with appropriate monitoring and management access.

GMCA is planning two supplier market engagement events before the end of march to explore the possibilities.

It has previously identified a problem with the public sector bodies around Manchester operating their own networks, with a duplication of cost and effort and making it difficult to make progress with smart place initiatives around the city.

The new notice suggests it has not yet formed a conclusive business case and fully identified the benefits against costs.

Image from iStock, Blackred

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