Feeds

Osborne names UK cities to land £100m broadband bonanza

Plus another £50m earmarked for 10 other areas

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Budget Day 2012 The Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne confirmed today exactly which cities in the UK will get their hands on a cash pile set aside to speed up broadband.

Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle will be dubbed "super-connected cities" by the government at least, once they get a slice of the £100m investment fund pre-announced by Osborne last autumn.

He told the House of Commons today that:

By 2015 this will deliver ultrafast broadband coverage to 1.7 million households and 200,000 businesses in high-growth areas as well as high-speed wireless broadband for three million residents. The government will also provide an additional £50m to fund a second wave of ten smaller super-connected cities.

The Chancellor announced during his autumn statement in November that the government would take the £100m from the £5bn national infrastructure investment pot over the course of this Parliament in a move to boost broadband network speeds in selected urban areas.

"The government will invest £100m to create up to 10 ‘super-connected cities’ across the UK, with 80-100 megabits per second broadband and city-wide high-speed mobile connectivity," said the government in its National Infrastructure Programme report in late 2011.

It added at the time: "There will be a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and strategic employment zones to support economic growth. Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and London will all receive support from this fund, and a UK-wide competition will decide up to six further cities that will also receive funding."

That investment comes on top of the £530m Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds already dished out by the government to local authorities and Scotland.

In his budget statement today, the chancellor made no mention of rural areas that are seeking investment in getting an adequate broadband connection, however.

Julia Stent, who is director of telecoms at uSwitch.com, questioned the government's motives.

"Whilst funding earmarked for ultra-fast broadband in 10 UK cities is both ambitious and heartening, and will undoubtedly benefit technology companies looking to develop and expand in the UK, the primary concern should be the provision of a quality service to rural areas before pursuing the title of fastest broadband in the world," she cautioned.

"Although there are still broadband blackspots and speed issues in some urban areas of the UK, we worry that the major towns and cities will speed ahead of the rest of the country in the premature quest to become fastest in the world." ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.