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27 UK Cities Shortlisted for Tiny GBP50m Pot of Ultrafast Broadband Funds

Friday, May 4th, 2012 (2:20 pm) - Score 1,122
fibre optic ftth broadband cable laying

The UK governments Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has today published a shortlist of 27 smaller cities that will be able to bid for a slice of £50 million in public funding, which was set aside in the recent 2012 Budget to help roll-out “ultrafast” fibre optic based 80-100Mbps+ (Megabits per second) broadband services.

The Urban Broadband Fund (UBF) has already allocated £100m to 10 of the country’s largest cities for the same reason and the situation this time around is little different, with the government needing to whittle its list of 27 cities down to a final selection of just 10.

The DCMS Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt MP, said:

This is a fantastic opportunity for 27 cities across the country to demonstrate how they’d revolutionise the way their residents and businesses get online.

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.”

The eligibility criteria states cities can only bid if they have a Royal Charter and more than 45,000 homes and businesses (35,000+ in Northern Ireland).

Urban Broadband Fund – Smaller Cities Shortlist

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
York

As before the money will only be used to upgrade broadband coverage in areas “not [being] served by the private sector” (e.g. where BT and Virgin Media will not go), although many often question why public money is needed in dense urban areas where the case for independent Private Sector investment should be significantly easier to make. We examined this in our recent article – ‘Lack of Fast Broadband is NOT Just a Problem for UK Rural Areas‘.

The bidding cities must produce a plan detailing their proposals. Further bidding guidance is expected to be published by 18th May 2012 and the government will then make a final choice before an official announcement in the Autumn Statement.

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Kyle

    One should never complain about additional funding but how exactly do you draw the boundaries on not entering locations where private sectors already serve?

    I live in a VM area, yet the cable passes the bottom of my road. Fortunately, I have FTTC, but if not, I am being excluded due to being a ‘minority’. Again, I use the word minority sparingly as there will be many living in those locations without any form of superfast access.

    Just like most things in life, this is not as black and white as it may seem to those not in the know.

  2. Avatar Deduction

    All the funding is a joke, more has been spent on inner cities and towns than areas that seriously need a boost.

    My town has both Virgin and BT FTTC which is nice, but it never needed both, that didnt stop my council funding BT to roll out FTTC in certain areas though.

    Fanbois will try to tell you all this public purse money is being spent in areas which are not viable. Looking at that list it clearly isnt the case.

  3. Avatar zemadeiran

    The UK has a 2 trillion dollar economy,throwing several billion at the issue should not damage the purse too much and would bring many many benefits.

    Good weekend to all.

  4. Yes let us make sure that in a so called equal society, that superfast areas get ultra-fast as soon as possible. Ensuring that the average UK speed goes up and the superslow areas can go and rot. ‘Let them go and eat digital cake’.

  5. Avatar DTMark

    This is the clearest possible sign of market failure.

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