The push to make the UK look uber cool with respect to broadband continues. The Chancellor announced a further £50m of funding for smaller cities in his most recent budget, some six weeks later the actual 27 cities that can enter this race have been announced.
Aberdeen, Brighton & Hove, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Exeter, Gloucester, Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, Londonderry / Derry, Newport, Norwich, Oxford, Perth, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Salford, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Wolverhampton and York.Twenty-seven cities in running for ultrafast broadband cash
The criteria for being in the list is that the city has a Royal Charter and comprises more than 45,000 homes and businesses, reduced to 35,000 for Northern Ireland.
Only ten cities will be chosen so the odds are stacked against each bid, and the money is meant to only be used in areas where will not be served by ultrafast broadband by the private sector. In cities like York who already have Virgin Media, BT FTTC and FTTP and CityFibre starting to deploy, identifying a contiguous area within the city boundary may prove challenging. Londonderry also is rare in that all its BT street cabinets have a corresponding fibre to the cabinet buddy, which will at present not really cover the 80 to 100 Mbps requirement, but with vectoring it may do in a couple of years, and the announcement of FTTP on Demand for all FTTC areas raises the question, is that on-demand aspect enough?
For those in the most rural 10% of the UK, who will scream what about the widening digital divide? This news is not going to reduce the volume of their screams.