Bristol is to get £11.3million of government cash to improve the city’s broadband internet services – with the aim of competing with the world’s best digital cities.
The investment, announced today by Culture Secretary Maria Miller, aims to provide internet download speeds of between 80 and 100MB, allowing Bristol to compete for business, investment and jobs with the world’s top digital cities.
Bristol joins nine other UK cities in sharing the £114m super-connected city fund. Ms Miller said Bristol had shown “ambitious and comprehensive plans, which will turn it into a digital leader, and give the local economy a real boost”.
The main proposals include:
- Superfast Broadband – at least 90% of the city will be able to access superfast broadband;
- The Next Generation (Gigabit) Network – the project will also engage a telecommunications provider to roll out faster broadband to business, social housing, university halls and residents across a central zone of the city;
- Wi-Fi – delivery of wireless connection to 54 defined business growth areas across the city.
The funding will also include a capital contribution towards a Growth Hub – a physical space in the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone that can act as a shop window for superfast broadband and a voucher scheme to encourage SME take-up.
Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Guy Poultney, said: “Today’s announcement from Government is excellent news and reinforces Bristol’s role as a leading digital city. Securing ultrafast broadband and extending Wi-Fi in the city is key to maintaining and growing our world-class knowledge economy.
“This funding will help us ensure that Bristol’s businesses and communities benefit from the very best digital infrastructure, to put us on a level with world-class connected cities such as Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo.”
Earlier this month, the Culture Secretary announced plans to simplify the planning system to speed-up the roll-out of superfast broadband. Under the new plans, broadband street cabinets and other infrastructure can be installed without the need for approval from the local council.
“Superfast broadband is vital to secure our country’s future – to kick start economic growth and create jobs,” she said.
“We are putting in the essential infrastructure that will make UK businesses competitive, and sweeping away the red tape that is a barrier to economic recovery.”