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Government greenlights 10 broadband cities

Glasgow, Sheffield and Nottingham denied
Wed Mar 21 2012, 16:06

THE UK GOVERNMENT has revealed 10 cities that will get a share of a £100m fund to boost the use of broadband.

The funding was announced in last year's Budget and its recipients were named at this year's event.

Chancellor George Osborne confirmed during his budget speech that Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and London have been successful in securing funding.

Based on the shortlist drawn up by the government last year, this means Glasgow, Nottingham and Sheffield have missed out.

"These bids have the potential to create in the UK, 10 of the best cities in the world for broadband connectivity," said Osborne.

Each city can apply for a maximum amount of funding from the £100m fund, with each guaranteed a minimum portion.

Osborne also said the government's plan to provide 25Mbit/s and above broadband access to 90 per cent of the population by 2015 is vital to help improve the UK's broadband infrastructure.

However, Dana Pressman-Tobak, the managing director of broadband provider Hyperoptic, said that while the government is right to try to improve the nation's broadband speeds, it needs to ensure it aims for the highest possible services to future-proof the nation for the long-term.

"In order to compete in a global broadband arena the government needs to take a long-term view and focus on encouraging broadband providers to adopt fibre-to-the-building models in cities. Anything less is not ideal," she said.

The importance of the internet to the UK economy was underlined earlier this week when a report by Boston Consulting Group claimed it is worth £121bn to the nation, or almost 10 per cent of GDP.

Some other cities have been granted £50m to improve their broadband services. We do not know which cities, but Brighton looks like a possibility. µ


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