How Tameside and Blackpool are building an advanced digital infrastructure

to transform services and serve the local economy using a co-operative model

thin layer model diagramUsing an innovative approach, Tameside MBC is working with partner organisations to build a new, advanced digital infrastructure to serve public sector, businesses and citizens.

The ‘thin layer model’ pioneered in Tameside facilitates rapid deployment of new, ‘full fibre’ infrastructure, while avoiding some of the complications and downsides associated with other public sector demand aggregation, leveraged and co-investment models.

The thin layer model is pragmatic and ‘agile’. Tameside, Blackpool and their public sector partners invest in new infrastructure assets where a business case can be made to meet needs. Then those assets are sewn together to form a coherent, integrated infrastructure that can be shared using a co-operative. In general the business case for each investment stands alone. By linking assets together into a shared network, the business case is multiplied.

Tameside MBC has been working with public sector partners including Tameside Hospital, the Pennine Care NHS trust, Tameside College and New Charter - the principal RSL. Following consultations, including a successful soft market test and detailed state aid advice, Tameside is extending the model to include private sector partners. The Tameside Digital Infrastructure Cooperative is being formally established with founder members from both sectors. As with the public sector, private sector partners can contribute assets and use the integrated infrastructure to provide services.

DCMS and BDUK have nominated Tameside to be one of six pilot ‘Wave 1’ projects in its £200m Local Full Fibre Network Programme, and is encouraging other authorities to learn from and use the model.

Read the full case study here