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Gov't to invest £100m in 'super-connected' cities

London and Cardiff among the ten that will benefit from 100Mbps

The government plans to invest £100m to create a number of 'super-connected' cities in the UK where residents and firms can access speeds of between 80 and 100Mbps.

The Urban Broadband Fund was announced in the Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne today. London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff will be joined by six other cities, which will be revealed in next year's budget, in receiving a share of the £100m. The funding will be made available over the next three years.

Furthermore, the government said in will open up the £20m Rural Community Broadband fund "to ensure more rural homes and businesses receive superfast broadband". If the scheme proves successful it may be extended.

The Chancellor also reiterated the government's pledge from October this year to spend £150m improving mobile network coverage in the five to ten percent of the UK where signal is very poor or non-existent. The scheme will begin next year, with consumer hopefully seeing the benefit by 2013.

Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, said it was "encouraging to see the Government is pledging to improve broadband services across the UK - we currently sit behind Japan, Europe and the US in terms of average speeds".

"Although there is £100million earmarked for improving London's broadband network, bringing an appreciable average speed to those in rural areas who have been forever languishing in the slow lane must be of equal importance," Doku said..

"For Britain to have the fastest network in Europe by 2015 is an ambitious goal, but this degree of attention to improving the UK's broadband infrastructure is very much needed. However, George Osborne's commitment to improving the situation at this early stage, is a good start."


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