Manchester homes to get 'ultrafast broadband'

More than 200,000 homes in Manchester could have "ultrafast broadband" by 2014, the city council has said.

Chancellor George Osborne announced that the city would be given £12m to become a "super-connected" city.

The Manchester Digital City bid aims to offer the service to 224,000 homes and 11,000 businesses initially.

Council leader Sir Richard Leese said it would go towards the "aim to be one of the world's top 20 digitial cities by 2020".

The bid includes provision for tackling digital exclusion issues in the city, allowing areas where the private sector has been reluctant to invest to benefit from broadband.

A council spokesman said 74% of the city's residents could access broadband, with take-up "particularly low in communities such as Wythenshawe and east Manchester".

He said the money would help "spread the advantages of ultrafast broadband".

'Economic growth'

Manchester was one of 10 cities to benefit from a £100m pot of Treasury cash aimed at making them "super-connected" in Mr Osborne's budget announcement.

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

Manchester Digital City will see additional funding offered by the council to small and medium businesses wanting faster connectivity.

Sir Richard said the package would promote "social inclusion and economic growth, particularly in the digital and media industries".

"We've repeatedly stressed the importance of improved transport infrastructure to the city's future, but leading edge digital connectivity is every bit as essential," he said.

"We aim to be one of the world's top 20 digital cities by 2020 and this funding will help propel us along that path."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites