The UK Government is reportedly to spend part of its £530 million broadband investment fund on helping bring “very high speed broadband in cities,” the Telegraph reports.
The plans, detailed in part in a civil service job advert for a Programme Management Office and Finance Lead, included a reference to broadband upgrades in cities, with the Broadband Development UK unit of the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) noting:
“BDUK is also taking forward other ministerial priorities such as proposals for very high speed broadband in cities”.
In December 2010, the government revealed plans to bring high speed broadband connectivity to most communities in the UK by 2015. The initiative was to be privately funded for about two thirds of the population, but, rural communities would be publicly funded to build digital fibre optic hubs.
Whilst the government doesn’t define what “superfast” entails, it is commonly accepted that 24Mbps is considered the baseline.
UK Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said the project will give the country Europe’s best broadband network by 2015 and would be central to economic growth and the delivery of future public services, dependent on quick, reliable access to the internet.
A DCMS spokesperson told the Telegraph:
The Government wants the UK to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015. We have set out plans to provide 90 per cent of homes and businesses in each local authority area with superfast broadband access and everyone with access to at least 2Mbps. We are also exploring other ways to ensure Europe’s best superfast broadband network is in the UK.
Campaigners believe that rural areas should receive service upgrades before cities, but with private companies undertaking the work needed to lay fiber optic cables, cities provide a greater return on investment.
Virgin Media has already begun trailing 1Gb superfast broadband in London’s Silicon Roundabout, hoping to draw a number of technology startups and investors to the area.