Budget 2012: 'Super-connected cities' and video games tax credits

 
Budget red box New tax breaks for the games industry were announced in the Budget

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Chancellor George Osborne has announced which cities will benefit from a £100m pot of Treasury cash aimed at making them "super-connected".

These are London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

Mr Osborne also announced a further £50m to improve net access in 10 unnamed "smaller cities".

He said that he wanted the UK to become "Europe's technology centre".

The super-connected cities were first announced in Mr Osborne's autumn statement, when he pledged £100m to create 100Mbps (megabit per second) citywide networks in 10 urban areas.

By 2015 it is hoped the investments in cities will provide ultrafast broadband coverage to 1.7 million households and high-speed wireless broadband for three million residents.

Motorway reception

The chancellor also announced plans to extend mobile coverage to 60,000 rural homes and along at least 10 key roads by 2015, including the A2 and A29 in Northern Ireland, the A57, A143, A169, A352, A360 and A591 in England, the A82(T) in Scotland and the A470(T) in Wales, subject to planning permission.

Start Quote

The primary concern should be the provision of a quality service to rural areas before pursuing the title of fastest broadband in the world”

End Quote Julia Stent USwitch

Funding would come out of the £150m investment announced in the autumn statement.

The government will also consider whether direct intervention is required to improve mobile coverage for rail passengers.

Seb Lahtinen, co-founder of broadband news site Think Broadband, said the move was "part of a drive to ensure that not only is the UK the best in Europe in terms of broadband speeds, but can compete on an international stage against countries like South Korea".

"The announcement by the chancellor is a recognition of the fact that broadband technology underpins the economy as a whole, and in particular the digital content industries in this country," he added.

Others felt that money would be better spent in improving rural broadband.

"Whilst funding earmarked for ultra-fast broadband in 10 UK cities is both ambitious and heartening, and will undoubtedly benefit technology companies looking to develop and expand in the UK, the primary concern should be the provision of a quality service to rural areas before pursuing the title of fastest broadband in the world," said Julia Stent, director of telecoms at price comparison site Uswitch.

"Although there are still broadband blackspots and speed issues in some urban areas of the UK, we worry that the major towns and cities will speed ahead of the rest of the country in the premature quest to become fastest in the world."

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 79.

    organum 64

    1 meg in East London sounds same as here in very rural Wales. Surprising that! I thought you would be all super dooper, what with the Olympics. Is this out by the sewage works/gas works at Beckton or up by Olympic Village? Wapping is very well connected but that is hardly East London anymore. Fort Murdoch country.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 78.

    63. Ginger Ferrit

    You're a cynic.

    But then again, anything said and done by the bunch of thieves in Westminster has to be treated with cynicism.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 77.

    I live in south Cambridge, supposedly a science and technology capitol of the world. Unfortunately residential broadband speeds are appalling - I consider myself very luck on the occasions where no-one is on the internet and I get ~1mbps. At popular time I get

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 76.

    is it even possible to use 100Mbps? so rural people are still going to be stuck with between 1Mbps and 2 cans on a peice of string

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 75.

    Lower the threshold for BT to provide Infinity in Tory and Lib-Dem key marginals?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 74.

    A complete and utter waste of money! This could be tackled by effective management from the regulator. Clear evidence of a government in hoc to the major Telco companies. Shame on them.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 73.

    Does this mean I can watch my youtube channel without buffering in the rush hour? London E1 is terrible!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 72.

    I don't know why everyone is obsessed with speed. I live in a rural area and get 8mbs. The problem is usage allowance, fair usage policies almost always say no more than 60GB a month, the faster your connection the quicker you will use it. The connections get faster but the usage remains the same. Some ISP's will charge you if go over or is some cases cut you off.

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 71.

    Interesting to note Glasgow's absence, given its size and relative importance in terms of business, this is a little surprising.

    Still it maybe something of a poison chalice, It will probably mean greedy landlords will sanction above inflation increases to already exorbitant rents in these areas because of this wonderful internet speed (that most don't even need)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 70.

    56Anon999

    Thanks for that, but I live in entirley agricultural & steep mountains. Part of the problem is that local farming community have nothing to do with internet & barely use telephones. Hence they think that ropey system is normal. Our biggest disaster was tractor bucket snapping off a pole by accident. We were off for a fortnight. Sounds cosy down in the Valleys but opposite up here

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 69.

    Lovely. Cities get the benefits. Those of us not living in marginal constituencies? Screwed over again. Be nice is they could roll out broadband to all of SS3 before they give presents to the urban blighters.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 68.

    I live in a brand new house in bristol only 4 miles or so out of the city centre and I can still only get 1MB! BT infinity apparently isn't available, nor is Virgin Media, so seems plenty to without the "rural" areas. Can't understand today why fibre optic wasn't straight on the development plans anyway? Madness.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 67.

    I live in one of he most geek-infested hi-tech areas of the country --- just outside Cambridge --- and still can't get even 3MBps broadband.

    If small businesses and home-working are thought to be a Good Thing, getting the median speed up to something adequte rather than boosting the peak for the minority would seem to be the sensible approach.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 66.

    I think they should be looking to improve the mobile phone network more than anything. I live in a village a mile from a large town and 12 miles from a city unyet almost no mobile operators have a good signal around here. I went to Ibiza several years ago and back then, everywhere on the island had full HSDPA connections everywhere I went.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 65.

    I say yes to more broadband! I recently did a course in fibre optics in just 5 days! didnt think I'd be getting a job any time soon but here I am employed full time. This investment by the government will improve the country! Training in fibre optics is defintely the way forward!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 64.

    I'm in East London and like 700 dwellings on this estate BT service is 1meg download.

    BT have said nothing can be done. Hope this announcement sorts us out.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 63.

    I think everyone needs to read between the lines!
    Fuel duty goes up = can't afford to use the roads
    Higher broadband speeds = more chance of being able to work from home for some of us.

    Hold on! They aren't dedicating funds to improve connections in areas where the average commute is over 15 miles to work.

    Hmmm, Call me a cynic...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 62.

    This sounds like a good plan. The computer game industry is being lured to France and Canada with huge tax breaks! Great day today, loving the govt's work, tax relief for the lowest paid, backing productivity with reduced taxes at the upper end, finally cracking the Union stranglehold on the NHS. Loving the BeeB leading with 50% cut and trying to ignore the wider tax relief, getting desperate...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 61.

    I don’t quite understand this one?
    Most urban areas are covered by either, BT infinity (FTTC or K) and Virgin media (FTTC) or 3G mobile (Huge investment to replace GPRS.)
    If it had been support for the few minor providers (Rutland telecom, etc...) who will provide FTTC where the big boy’s wont, then I could have understood it?

    What are we running with a 100M connection?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 60.

    I'm really starting to dislike the Milibandit, apart from rampant political opportunism he's starting to look as though he needs to take his shoes and socks off to count past ten. Heaven forfend that the BBC might have some intelligent, accurate and well informed comment to make on the subject - but they actually do... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17397199

 

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