The government has announced £114m in investment across 10 cities to help provide them with high-speed broadband.
The funds have increased by £14m on the initially planned £100m, with the 100Mbit/s broadband for homes and businesses designed to allow the “super-connected cities” to provide a boost to the economy. The super-fast connection is scheduled to roll out by 2015.
The 10 cities include the capitals of all four home nations, in addition to six other major urban areas:
• Belfast £13.7m
• Birmingham £10m
• Bristol £11.3m
• Cardiff £11m
• Edinburgh £10.7m
• Leeds & Bradford (joint bid) £14.4m
• London £25m
• Manchester £12m
• Newcastle £6m
Shares of £50m will be divided among smaller cities throughout the UK.
“Fast broadband is essential for growth, and is key to the country’s economic future,” said Culture Secretary Maria Miller.
“These 10 cities have produced ambitious and comprehensive plans, which will turn them into digital leaders, and give their local economies a real boost. The new investment will help put these cities at the centre of the digital stage, competing for jobs and investment with the best in the world.”
Our MD Peter Gradwell noted that while it’s great to have high-speed broadband in the cities to boost the economy, it’s important to ensure that the areas outside these areas aren’t forgotten. “The government approach to the rollout of superfast broadband is not uniform; it should be striving toward a universal level of service: providing an acceptable level of coverage to all areas, rural as well as urban,” he explains. “Better coverage and the ability to access the internet in rural areas will enable people to work from home who previously would have found this impossible, some of whom may wish to run small businesses. Anything that encourages entrepreneurial activity would be extremely beneficial to the economy and the government should be enabling this.”
What do you think? Are “super-connected cities” a good idea, or should the funds be better spread across the country?