The government has announced the latest initiative in its drive to improve the UK’s broadband infrastructure.
George Osborne has made £100 million available to share between ten cities, which will become “super-connected” with a network of 80 to 100Mbps being extended by both BT and Virgin Media, who are already rolling out super-fast connections.
The four capitals – London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – are guaranteed places in the fortunate ten, with the other six spots open to bids from ten further cities.
These are: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester and Sheffield.
Basically, four of the above will lose out, with the cities bidding to show exactly how they would use the cash and super-connected status to drive their local economy upwards.
While some might bemoan this £100 million splashed on already well connected urban areas, given that the most problematic broadband issues involve rural locations, the government argues that the investment is worthwhile to attract new businesses to the cities.
In a press release, the government stated: “These cities have the necessary size and economy to be able to use super-connected status to drive growth, attract new businesses to the area and transform the way services are provided and accessed.”
The winning cities will be announced come the budget in March, with the cash being made available in the summer of next year.
The government also noted that this £100 million was an additional investment, and not drawn from the already established £530 million broadband pot.