Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced large-scale investment in superfast broadband across ten UK cities.
The announcement, made during the Chancellor’s recent autumn budget statement, confirmed the investment would total £100 million.
It is understood that the new investment will lead to broadband speeds within the selected cities of up to 100 Mbps.
Although six of the chosen cities have yet to be announced, four that have definitely been selected to benefit from the investment are: London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.
Commenting on his decision, Mr Osborne said:
‘It means creating new super-fast digital networks for companies across our country. These do not exist today’.
He warned that unless the investment was made, ‘we risk falling behind the rest of the world’. He cited China and Brazil as examples of countries which had already embraced superfast broadband.
Welcoming the proposed investment, the main UK telecommunications infrastructure company, BT, said:
‘BT is already upgrading large parts of these cities under its commercial rollout plan and these funds could help us go further’.
The statement by the chancellor follows hard on the heels of a recent announcement by the government in Scotland that it would be investing £5 million in high speed broadband capability within the Dumfries and Galloway and Borders regions.
Within the selected cities themselves the statement is expected to be greatly welcomed by both business and local authority leaders, who have long campaigned for their areas to benefit from the added value services that superfast broadband can bring.
These services include internet protocol (IP) telephony, and, in particular, business VoIP (voice over internet protocol); which can lead to greater efficiencies in the management of internal business phone systems; lower call costs; and the capacity to take and receive calls using the same extension and phone number, regardless of location.