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As the UK continues to invest in significant digital transformation, we have supported many clients in the rapid deployment of digital and fibre infrastructure. Our role has been to project and programme manage the delivery of all elements of innovation.

The project delivery and procurement activities for this project were managed and delivered by CJ Founds Associates Ltd in 2019-20. The project was partially public funded by the UK Government’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) challenge fund and consisted of developing a Public Sector Anchor Tenancy network for future digital growth for the Greater Manchester Metropolitan region.


The project included the design and installation of circa 2,700Km of new full-fibre across the region at Gigabit speed to serve 1,600 public sector sites. The new wholesale Dark Fibre network is expected to trigger significant additional private finance investment of over £200m and is estimated could be worth over £2.1bn to the Greater Manchester economy over the next 15 years.


This is the largest public-sector full-fibre aggregation project ever undertaken in the UK and was subject to the 2015 Public Contracts Regulations comprising of four stages of supplier selection.


The procurement process had to consider the numerous stakeholders in the project, including the nine Contracting Authorities operating under a Framework Agreement with GMCA.


Funding arrangements with the Dept. of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) also had to be considered and incorporated within the supply chain arrangements.


Following the tender exercise, Virgin Media Business was awarded contracts for both the Northern and Southern Arcs of the network. Implementation contracts were signed in March 2020, with delivery to the 1,600 sites planned for completion in 2021.


The procurement exercise added significant benefit to the original project objectives including:


  • 50% longer IRU achieved – 30 years secured rather than the anticipated 20 years;


  • 320 additional sites to be connected at no additional cost to GMCA;


  • Extended network reach with 45% residential and business premises passed rather that the 25% originally expected;


  • Social Value benefits worth up to £1.2M to the Greater Manchester region which was particularly of benefit in the Covid-19 response;


  • Reduction in existing WAN costs of 10%.

This is the largest public sector full fibre aggregation project ever undertaken in the UK



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