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Budget 2012 Broadband to get £50 million boost from UK Government

The UK’s budget for 2012 has been announced by the UK Government and it includes in its reforms a cash injection of £50 million for fibre broadband investment.

The second main point of the Budget 2012 breakdown which includes tax relief for the UK games industry reads:

“Confirm selection of Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle to become broadband super-connected cities, as part of the £100 million investment announced at 2011 Autumn Statement. £50m will be used to fund a second wave of cities.”

Budget 2012 broadband gets £50 million boost from UK Goverment

Alongside the four national capitals of the UK Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle will benefit from some healthy fibre investment.

As part of the UK Government’s Autumn Statement from 2011, it was announced (at point 1.93) that:

“The Government will invest £100 million to create up to ten ‘super-connected
cities’ across the UK, with 80-100 megabits per second broadband and city-wide
high-speed mobile connectivity. There will be a particular focus on small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) and strategic employment zones to support economic growth. Edinburgh,
Belfast, Cardiff and London will all receive support from this fund, and a UK-wide competition
will decide up to six further cities that will also receive funding.”

With the pot now totalling £150 million, this ought to accelerate rollout of fibre connections to UK homes and businesses. Welcome news but still short of the £15 billion estimated to be required for the UK to bounce back on the global broadband league tables.

Former BT technology chief Peter Cochrane recently lambasted broadband investment in the UK, saying that more money for fibre was needed to drag the UK out of the internet dark ages. 

Update: The CBI today gave its reaction to the Chancellor’s Budget 2012 plans on broadband investment. John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said in a statement:

“The Government’s commitment to support private sector delivery of world-leading broadband is right on the mark, and will ensure the UK’s high-tech companies have the infrastructure they need to be global champions.

We also welcome the additional £150m of public money to support the roll-out of super-fast broadband coverage in smaller UK cities, although getting the details of this funding right will be critical to its success.” 

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