Virgin Media WiFi could be part of Edinburgh super connected plan
While Edinburgh has been awarded £10.7m as a capital city in the first wave of super connected cities it has not actually announced the precise plan for how this would be spent and with a deadline of spending all the money by March 2015 there is not long to plan and deliver (we assume the same deadline applies to all the super connected cities).
The Scotsman indicates that Virgin Media Business with its WiFi proposition, that Leeds and Bradford are already getting for free is in the running. It looks like it will be a difficult bid to beat if Virgin Media are actually proposing to pay the city for access to street furniture.
The city council already goes as far to say that the funding available will not fill every available gap in the city, and that is when starting from a very good coverage point, where 90.1% of homes and 86.1% of business premises have access to a superfast service and an impressive 83.8% and 82.7% can apparently access an ultra-fast service already at speeds of 80 to 100 Mbps. The money is actually expected to help improve broadband speeds for 20,000 homes and 1,500 businesses, with the service described as next generation broadband access which is defined as 'up to 24 mbps'. We hope that this definition is actually a mistake, but it is one that has been on their site for a few months.
The £10.7m from Westminster, will probably result in a fund of around £20m plus with investment from commercial partners may rise to £30m, giving around £1300 per building which should be enough for a full fibre to the premises connection. Though if this was the projects aim we would be expecting talk of much higher speeds like 200 to 1000 Mbps.
Think of the Digital Divide is often the rally call of rural broadband campaigners, but if the cautionary note about not covering every gap in the city is true, then the super connected cities are set to increase rather than lessen this divide, the fast get faster and the slow are left behind while chasing the headlines.