Plymouth in line for share of £50million broadband cash
PLYMOUTH is one of 27 UK cities in the running for a share of £50million for ultrafast broadband.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the cash pot is designed to create economic growth and attract investment.
The fund was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in the Budget, and will help create about 10 super-connected cities with 80-100Mbps broadband access.
This is the second round of funding for ultra-fast broadband, with 10 of the UK's largest cities already working on detailed plans to upgrade networks.
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Mr Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for 27 cities across the country to demonstrate how they'd revolutionise the way their residents and businesses get online.
"These ultrafast speeds will allow more cities in the UK to compete with the fastest in the world, bringing new opportunities for growth, the development of high tech industries and the transformation of public services."
To be able to bid for the cash, cities must have a Royal Charter and more than 45,000 homes and businesses, or more than 35,000 homes and businesses if the city is in Northern Ireland.
Alongside Plymouth the other eligible cities are Aberdeen, Brighton & Hove, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Exeter, Gloucester, Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, Londonderry/Derry, Newport, Norwich, Oxford, Perth, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Preston, Salford, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Wolverhampton and York.
Bidding cities will need to produce plans for how they will use their share of the £50million and detailed bidding guidance will be published by May 18.
Projects will have to include the creation of a contiguous area offering fixed ultrafast broadband of at least 80-100Mbps as well as high-speed wireless connectivity.
The fund can only be used to support the roll-out of ultrafast broadband to areas that will not be served by the private sector.
The resources the city proposes to bring to the project – either in funding or other contributions – will be a factor in assessing the bids and there will be a presumption in favour of match funding, the Government said.
The winning cities will be announced in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.
The first round of applications for super-connected status saw the four national capitals and six other cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Bradford, Newcastle and Manchester – selected.
The unsuccessful cities from the first round will not be eligible to apply for the second fund.