Government Announces Shortlist For Super-Fast Broadband Funds

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The government has announced a list of 27 cities eligible to apply for £50m in funding for super-fast broadband

Coventry, Swansea and York are amongst 27 cities eligible to apply for a share of £50m in government funding for the installation of super-fast broadband, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

The funds are intended to help create super-fast broadband networks in cities that would not present an attractive commercial opportunity to Internet service providers.

10 winners

The list indicates the cities eligible to apply for funding, with 10 ultimately to be selected.

Hunt said the super-fast broadband plan is intended to make the UK more competitive in the global marketplace.

“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,” Hunt stated.

The government will publish bidding guidance later this month and said it plans to announce the winners in this year’s Autumn Statement.

Bids will need to demonstrate plans for how the money would be used, with Hunt calling for competing cities to show how they would “revolutionise” the way residents and businesses get online.

Cities must also indicate what they will bring to the project, either in funding or “other contributions”, the government said.

Broadband plans

The 27 cities are 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 and York.

In March the government pledged £100m to 10 “super-connected cities”, including London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh, with the aim of delivering broadband speeds of 80 to 100Mbps to three million people.

Hunt has pledged to make the UK the best place for super-fast broadband in Europe by 2015, although this will rely heavily on the private sector. BT has promised to match any of that money which the government decides to put its way.

BT is in the process of investing £2.5 billion in rolling out fibre to around two thirds of UK homes by 2015.

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