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Cities bid for share of £50m in race for ultrafast broadband

27 cities in the running
Fri May 04 2012, 15:51

TWENTY-SEVEN cities in the UK are in the running for a share of a £50m government subsidy to roll out ultrafast broadband, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced today.

The £50m in this year's budget is the second round of funding for ultrafast 80Mbit/s to 100Mbit/s broadband, with 10 cities including London and Edinburgh already working on detailed plans to upgrade their networks.

The eligible cities announced today include Aberdeen, Brighton & Hove, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Exeter, Gloucester, Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, Londonderry / Derry, Newport, Norwich, Oxford, Perth, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Salford, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Wolverhampton and York, with the winning cities to be announced in August.

"These ultrafast speeds will allow more cities in the UK to compete with the fastest in the world, bringing new opportunities for growth, the development of high tech industries and the transformation of public services," said Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

This development comes just a day after the London School of Economics (LSE) released a report explaining that £50 million set aside in the 2012 Budget is nowhere near enough to cover the costs of the planned broadband rollout. "The costs of broadband infrastructure run into billions but are modest compared to the costs of energy and transport infrastructure, which together are forecast to absorb over £200 billion of investment," said the LSE report.

"Yet the funding for broadband from all public sources (not just the government) amounts to a total of £1.3 billion, which is likely to be less than, for example, the government revenue from the forthcoming digital dividend spectrum auction." µ




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