23/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 12:56

UK Chancellor announces more funding for broadband

Category: England

Published: 29th Nov 2011 14:07:06

Better broadband networks in 10 cities across the UK are being promised by the government.

In his autumn statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced £5bn of spending on infrastructure projects such as roads, railways and broadband networks.

£100m of that is set to boost broadband coverage in London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

A further six cities will be identified later.

"For the first time we are identifying over 500 infrastructure projects we want to see built over the next decade and beyond. Roads, railways, airport capacity, power stations, waste facilities, broadband networks," the chancellor told the House of Commons.

"It means creating new superfast digital networks for companies across our country. These do not exist today. See what countries like China or Brazil are building, and you'll also see why we risk falling behind the rest of the world," he said.

"Our great cities are at the heart of our regional economies. And we will help bring world leading, superfast broadband and wi-fi connections to 10 of them - including the capitals of all four nations.

The plan is to create a hub of super-fast cities with broadband speeds of between 80 to 100Mbps (megabits per second) and city-wide high-speed mobile connectivity.

The current average broadband speed in the UK is 6.8Mbps.

Firms including BT and Virgin will be able to bid for the money, which they can use to fill in urban notspots or increase wi-fi coverage, a spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told the BBC.

BT welcomed the news.

"This is a positive initiative that will help ensure our major cities have the best available super-fast broadband. BT is already upgrading large parts of these cities under its commercial rollout plan and these funds could help us go further. We look forward to working closely with the selected cities to see what can be achieved," said a spokesman for the firm.

But critics said the money would have been better spent boosting rural broadband.

"£100m between ten cities is about £1.50 per person. If the government had put the money in rural project it would have boosted rural businesses. Broadband is already available in cities," said Andrew Ferguson, editor of broadband news site ThinkBroadband.

PDF download Autumn Statement 2011[3MB]

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

Public funding for new infrastructure projects will come in two chunks - £5bn in the period to 2014/15 and the remaining £5bn to cover longer-term projects over the five years from 2015/16.

The chancellor said that the government has also negotiated an agreement with two groups of British pension funds, to unlock an additional £20bn of private investment in modern infrastructure.

The government wants the UK to be the best place for broadband in Europe by 2015.

BT recently accelerated its superfast broadband rollout and now plans to offer fibre services to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.

Virgin Media has also turned up the speed dial on its services, which is available to half the homes in the UK.

Broadband rollouts in rural areas have been far slower with critics complaining that the £530m set aside by the government to encourage investment in these areas is insufficient.

Much of that money has been allocated to local councils identified as having broadband blackspots but few have yet got projects up and running.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. UK Chancellor announces more funding for broadband [Online] (Updated 29th Nov 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/206343/UK-Chancellor-announces-more-funding-for-broadband [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Commonwealth Games 2014: Dan Rivers 'excited' by selection

    Didcot shooter Dan Rivers says he is "excited" to have been named in England's Commonwealth games squad for this summer's event in Glasgow.
  • Eight renewable energy projects approved

    Eight major renewable energy projects, expected to support 8,500 jobs, have been given government approval.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Gay marriage 'patience' urged by Archbishop of Wales

    Supporters of gay marriage should be patient if they want the blessing of the Church in Wales, its archbishop has said.
  • Energy switching numbers still low, says Ofgem

    Nearly two-thirds of people have never switched energy supplier, according to a survey for the energy regulator, Ofgem.
  • Hull Truck theatre gets £400,000 bail-out

    The Hull Truck theatre has received £400,000 in emergency grants to help it out of financial crisis.