UK Chancellor pledges £100 million for broadband
UK Chancellor George Osborne has pledged a £100 million fund to help create 10 super connected cities across the country, which he claims will have broadband speeds of 80-100Mbps.
The UK’s four capitals; London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh, are guaranteed to be among the ten, with the unusual step taken to decide the remaining six through a competition. The winners are expected to be announced in the next UK budget.
“Our great cities are at the heart of our regional economies. And we will help bring world-leading, superfast broadband and WiFi connections to 10 of them – including the capitals of all four nations,” said Osborne.
The fund is part of a £5 billion increase in infrastructure spending announced during the Chancellor’s autumn statement. UK Regulator Ofcom says that the current UK average speed is 6.8 Mbps. The country is ranked 25th in the world for broadband.
UK telecoms company BT previously announced that approximately two-thirds of UK homes and premises will have access to fibre-based broadband by the end of 2014 – a year earlier than the original target. The company is investing £2.5 billion on the commercial deployment of fibre-optic broadband and is hoping to reach a much higher percentage of the country with the help of government funds.