Who will fund extra money for city broadband projects?
While investment in broadband has been shown to improve the economy meaning that public spending can be seen to boost the economy, it appears the boost in funding for the 10 largest cities will be at the expense of the other projects. The press release from DCMS indicates that the total investment up until 2015 of £830m has not changed.
- £530m for local authority BDUK projects
- £100m for 10 super connected cities, now £114m
- £50m for 10 smaller cities broadband projects
- £150m for mobile coverage in rural areas
So the question is which of the three other projects will end up being short by £14m. The BDUK projects when they apportioned their original funding in August 2011, had some £100m remaining as contingency fund, and extra funding as councils double check the BDUK figures for households has reduced this already. The £50m for the ten smaller cities will see the increase in funding for the largest cities and increase pressure for that fund to probably increase.
DCMS talks of 230,000 residential and 55,000 business premises gaining ultra fast broadband, but at this stage it is not clear if this is a 'premises passed' or 'premises connected' target figure. The issue of high speed wireless coverage in these cities is to some extent muted already by the launch of 4G by EE.