Earlier today, we reported on the UK government’s ‘open data’ plans, and in Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement this afternoon, he further outlined plans to overhaul the country’s technological infrastructure.
Osborne said that 10 UK cities would be seeing better broadband networks, which would constitute part of a broader £5bn infrastructure project encompassing roads and railways. For the moment, £100m will be set aside to boost broadband in the UK’s four capital cities – London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff – with a further six cities to be announced at a later point.
Back in July, we first reported on a planned superfast broadband rollout in UK cities. And last month we reported that the first 4G LTE broadband trial had kicked off in rural Britain, technology that is being seen as a viable alternative to fibre-optic broadband which can be prohibitively expensive for remote rural areas.
In front of a packed House of Commons this afternoon, Osborne said:
“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. 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. 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.”
It’s thought the superfast broadband will see speeds of up to 100Mbps hit the major UK cities. Established broadband providers such as BT, Sky and Virgin will be able to bid for the funding, which is hoped will help plug the gaps in urban ‘notspots’ – heavily populated areas with below average broadband speeds.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has previously outlined the government’s vision for the UK to have the best broadband network in Europe by 2015.
You can download the full Autumn Statement here [PDF].