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Edinburgh Proposes Revised £10m Broadband Plan After EU Funding Fail

Wednesday, Jun 19th, 2013 (1:41 pm) - Score 706

The City of Edinburgh Council (Scotland) has submitted a revised plan for improving the city’s telecoms infrastructure, which comes after EU competition concerns prevented a majority of the £10.7 million allocated through the government’s £150m Urban Broadband Fund from being used to build a new fibre optic broadband network.

The “super-connected cities” initiative originally aimed to support the roll-out of “ultrafast” (80-100Mbps) broadband ISP services but those plans, along with all others like it, were effectively scrapped (here) after the EU’s competition authority warned that such funding could not be used to improve connectivity in areas where the case for private sector investment should be a lot easier to make (this would have incurred a very lengthy review period).

As a result practically all of the related cities (here and here) were forced to come up with a Plan B proposal in double quick time, which is what Edinburgh has now put forward. The revised plan proposes to spend £2.7m on wifi for public transport and council buildings, £3m on broadband vouchers to help connect small businesses, £4m to support start-up businesses in specific sectors (e.g. the creative industry) and £1m for an online archive of programmes (Scotsman).

Alasdair Rankin, Edinburgh City’s Finance Convener, said:

We have submitted a proposal that takes account of the state aid objections. We hope to get the full £10.7m and we intend to spend it in a way that achieves the maximum benefit to Edinburgh’s economy, its residents and visitors. Beyond that, we are looking to see what we can do for businesses.

We have already invested £350,000 of our own money and we had looked at contributing £1m, but we’re not going to commit any more until we a cast-iron assurance from the DCMS that we can go ahead with the revised programme.”

The UK government (DCMS) welcomed the development and said that it was “currently considering the cities’ revised plans and we will be confirming their revised allocations shortly“. Other cities have similarly been asked to resubmit their plans with a focus on “supporting SME growth and projects which we could start work on straight away“.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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