Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Tackling digital inequality in Greater Manchester: social value report

Supporting Greater Manchester's social and digital ambitions


In early 2020, we partnered with Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to deliver fibre optic connectivity to public sector sites throughout the city-region.

The £23.8M Local Full Fibre Networks Programme (LFFN) set out a plan for up to 2,700km of fibre optic broadband infrastructure to be laid, connecting more than 1,500 public sites.

It’s the UK’s largest and most ambitious LFFN programme to date.


Alongside the rollout of this digital infrastructure we also made several commitments to support GMCA and the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s bold aspirations to improve the lives of the people who live in the area.

In this report we explore the progress we have made against these goals to date and the positive impact this project is already having on the people of Greater Manchester.


Improving the lives of Greater Manchester’s citizens

Our commitments


The outcomes


“It highlights the possibilities when private and public sector work together to level up our communities – from towns and cities to our most rural places and spaces, aligning digital ambitions to ensure that anyone, whatever their age, location, or situation, can benefit from the opportunities digital brings.”

Andy Burnham,
Mayor of Greater Manchester


“Here in Greater Manchester, we remain committed to being a digital city-region with a difference, putting people at the heart of what we do. We want our people to be empowered by the opportunity digital brings whatever their age, location or situation, and we want our partners to work with us to achieve our digital ambitions - which is why social value commitments such as those made by Virgin Media Business are integral to helping us achieve the ambitions set in our Digital Blueprint.”

Councillor Andrew Western,
GMCA Lead for Digital,
Work and Skills


“We are hugely grateful for this donation from Virgin Media Business, as part of its ongoing work with GMCA. The funds will go towards the ‘A Bed Every Night’ programme, supporting rough sleepers across the region. This is part of our commitment to provide assistance to the homelessness sector’s emergency response, in addition to our work pioneering prevention. Together, change is possible.”

Vanessa Haworth,
Head of Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity


Digital for Good: what does it mean and
why does it matter?

Our work with GMCA forms part of our long-standing promise to make sure digital change benefits both our customers and the communities we’re part of.

Being connected opens up a whole world of opportunities, enabling people to do more, be more and have more fun. From shopping and staying in touch with family to accessing new ways of working and learning or even sparking major social change, the internet is one of the most powerful tools ever invented.

But the people who can benefit the most from connectivity are also the people who are most in need of a helping hand, whether that means learning new skills, getting improved access to jobs or enjoying the benefits that ultrafast connectivity brings.


Our ability to keep this promise comes from our unique capabilities. We have a brand that has the power to inspire people. We have the UK’s fastest widely available broadband network. And we have more than 10,000 people across the UK and Ireland ready to help us make this happen.

This is our promise. And we call it ‘Digital for Good’.






Public service


Local authority