United Kingdom spends on city broadband

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United Kingdom spends on city broadband
Rt Hon Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities. Source: UK Gov

To be ready by 2015

Ten cities in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland will share a £114 million ($177.14) million "broadband pot" to roll out fast broadband and wireless access, the country's culture secretary Maria Miller announced.

London will receive the lion's share of the money, or £25 million ($38.85 million) while the rest will go to Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds and Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle.

According to Miller, the funding will help the ten cities transform into super-connected entities, offering high-tech and digital companies the infrastructure they need. 

The funding is part of a British Government plan that aims to deliver the best broadband in Europe, with a total investment of £830 million ($1.3 billion).

The city fund will provide high-speed broadband access to an additional 230,000 residential and 55,000 business premises.

Miller said the money will be spent on providing fixed broadband access with 80 to 100Mbps bitrates and high-speed wireless, but gave no further details.

The broadband rollout is to be completed by 2015, Miller states.

A second super-connected city fund will see a further £50 million ($77.7 million) allocated to ten smaller cities that apply for money.

The British Government has come under fire for its broadband ambitions, with the House of Lords communications committee criticising the focus on speed rather than service reach in a detailed report published in July this year.

In the report, the Peers said that while the Government should be congratulated for its enhanced broadband plans, its prospectus was flawed and it had become "preoccupied with the delivery of certain speeds."

The Lords have put forward an alternative plan to close the digital divide in the UK featuring a network of fibre-optic hubs to provide fast broadband to local communities and businesses.

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