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Monday, 24 September 2012 07:15

Broadband boost for UK cities Featured

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There’s an NBN of sorts in Britain too. UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller has announced ten cities will receive £114 million (A$177 million) from the country’s “broadband pot”.

“The investment will help the ten cities transform into ‘super-connected cities’,” said Miller. “By offering high-tech and digital companies the infrastructure they need, the cities will be able to compete for business, investment and jobs with the world’s top digital cities.”

The four UK capital cities (London, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh) will share the funding, along with Birmingham, Bristol, the Leeds and Bradford metro area, Newcastle and Manchester. The money will help provide businesses with broadband speeds of at least 80Mbps, as well as high speed wireless Internet access. “Fast broadband is essential for growth, and is key to the country’s economic future,” said Miller

“These ten 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.” The UK Government is investing a total of £830 million to deliver what it says is “the best broadband in Europe” and extending mobile coverage.

The new allocations follow an announcement by Miller earlier in the month of plans to “rip up the planning red tape that is delaying the roll-out of superfast broadband around the country.” The ten cities’ plans include taking ultrafast broadband access to around an extra 230,000 residential and 55,000 business premises as well as high speed wireless to even more. All the plans are due to be delivered by 2015.

The names of the ten cities, along with indicative allocations, were announced in this year’s UK budget following a competition. The announcement sets out the amount of government investment allocated to each city, which are also required to provide additional resources of their own towards the project. A second super-connected city fund was also announced in the budget, which will see around a further £50 million shared between ten smaller cities.

A total of 14 cities applied for the first round of super-connected city funding. The four that missed out were Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield and Glasgow.


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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