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Manchester unveils ambitious plans for digital city

Manchester City Council's ten point plan to make the city a world leader in digital technology

Published on March 8th 2012.

Manchester unveils ambitious plans for digital city

MANCHESTER City Council has revealed a ten point plan to ensure it is one of the world's foremost digital cities by 2020, by promoting economic growth and ensuring residents have the skills to benefit from it.

The ambitious plans will 'cement Manchester's well established reputation in the digital world' and 'expand on the impressive progress made since the most recent Digital Strategy published in 2008'.

Manchester is already a force on the digital world stage with the city council spearheading innovation in the digital and creative sector helping build the UK ’s largest digital economy outside the capital

The initiative aims to provide 100% fast broadband coverage, WiFi in all public spaces, promote growth within the digital sector and provide education to ensure the public can make the most of these opportunities.

According to the council: “Manchester's ten point plan will drive the Council's digital priorities and move the city forward rapidly as an example of best practice on a national and international stage.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester is already a force on the digital world stage with the city council spearheading innovation in the digital and creative sector helping build the UK's largest digital economy outside the capital.

“This digital strategy is essential for building on that success and ensuring that Manchester benefits from the potential of improved technologies and make sure that our residents are in the best position possible to take advantage of the jobs created as a result.”

Currently only 74% of the city's residents are broadband connected and the council believes that, by failing to use the technology to its full potential, businesses are ‘inhibiting their chances of growth and future job creation’.

The council added: “A digital city requires the city council to embrace new technologies and maximise data that is openly available online to encouraging residents and businesses to access services and contact the council digitally.

“The next step is to work with partners across the city to produce a delivery plan for the strategy in order to fulfil the ambitious plans of developing a truly digital city and become a world leader by 2020.”

Below is a more detailed summary of the council’s ten point plan, taken from the press release:

Access and connectivity

Connected Citizens – to ensure 100 per cent fast broadband coverage and Wi-Fi in all public spaces.

Connected Businesses – to ensure businesses have access to fast broadband and support with advice or financial assistance to best exploit it.

Connected Manchester – deliver a more co-ordinated partnership between the public and private sector to promote digital Manchester to attract new business.


Digital Skills – to ensure digital excellence at all ages through quality digital education at all levels to support people in gaining the skills to get future jobs and promote the benefit of 'going digital'.

Social City – create a digitally embracing City Council by fully utilising digital opportunities; including social media, advanced website and further exploit mobile technologies with content, advertising and apps.

Digital Reform – encourage and enable more people to become digitally savvy and grow to be self-service customers – increasing their digital potential and helping to deliver efficiencies within the council.


Economic Growth – stimulate the creative and digital sector by encouraging investment and increase skill development from an early age to maximise the potential of our home-grown talent.


Digital Place – the essential link between technology, residents and the city –from advertising and transport information to route finding – the city's physical infrastructure must be inextricably linked to digital technologies.


Digital Investment / Resources - to exploit investment opportunities, both public and private to accelerate our digital ambition.

Digital Leadership – to achieve a truly digital city by co-ordinating all city strategies from transport and health to education and public services and develop a joined up digital Manchester.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Calum McGMarch 8th 2012.

Connected Citizens – to ensure 100 per cent fast broadband coverage and Wi-Fi in all public spaces. - How will they persuade BT to update the relevant bits of their network - and what is 'fast'? Apart from the bit about 'apps', it's all rather woolly and very early noughties. Doesn't seem very aspirational at all... Just a lot of hot air!

TheWallMarch 8th 2012.

Ali, just to let you know Openreach are already delivering super fast broadband to the city as part of the Next Generation Access Fibre Rollout. Certain areas have already been enabled such as Rusholme, Didsbury, Manchester East, Broughton, Trafford and Chorlton. This link may help you: http://www.btplc.com/ngb/
Admittedly not every area and every cab is being done at present but I'm sure if the council are serious about the 100% then they will perhaps look to bridge the gap in funding, or will they?

Duke FameMarch 13th 2012.

What is Richard Leese actually claiming here apart from massaging his ego? Private enterprise has already taken care of his 'plan' it's just a lot of woolly words to claim some sort of importance from a largely irrelevant man.

AnonymousMarch 14th 2012.

What a load of b*ll*cks typical council crap .

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Duke FameMarch 14th 2012.

Anon, why is it I agree with so much of what you say yet disagree on other posts? Are there two anons?

AnonymousMarch 15th 2012.

Duke Fame, you are clearly bonkers. You seem to have gone absolutely berserk spamming the comment pages with disparaging stuff about the Council and / or the public sector. What's your beef? Prosecuted slum landlord? Business owner turned down for a grant? One too many parking tickets? Or most likely given some of the naivety on display, a bored student with too much time on your hands?

Susan TuringMarch 19th 2012.

I tend to agree with Duke Fame about Mr Leese claiming that Manchester will be a 21st century digital city. Unless he can demonstrate that he has closed the digital divide by helping pensioners successfully switchover and had basic internet access installed in poor income families homes as these are some of the pre-requisites for claiming to have a digital savvy city, then I am not buying it.

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