back to article Osborne names UK cities to land £100m broadband bonanza

The Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne confirmed today exactly which cities in the UK will get their hands on a cash pile set aside to speed up broadband. Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle will be dubbed "super-connected cities" by the government at least, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ultra fast ?

    Wouldn't mind non-dog-slow myself, stuck at 1Mb or less on an exchange that allegedly is fibre-enabled yet no cabinets are.

    1. mknash

      Re: ultra fast ?

      Yup, same here. Urban Manchester, exchange is FTTC, BT have no record of when, if ever, my cabinet will be done. 2.5 mb maximum here

  2. AndrueC Silver badge

    I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean what he likes to claim it does. It's probably just money to boost the business districts and a few other select areas. At £100m it sure doesn't sound like FTTP for ever property in the catchment area.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Worrying in that to get fast broadband and public wifi you need goverment intervention and this is for the larges/dencely populated large city area's. Then it's the top 10 largest ones as well. This realy bodes well for the medium and little people who don't live in those area's!

    If the ten largest cities need help to get fast broadband and public wifi then the rest of the country is has no hope - that is is one way to look at it. Another is that it will cause more road works in those alrge area's that will create public media coverage about how the roads are bad and enable the goverment to slide in some more private road options that....well just another angle of looking at this.

    Free not uber fast but usable whitespace alolocation that is available countrywide for free and if people want faster they pay a private company. That would of been news. WIFI in large cities and rolling out fiber in places were fiber is already being rolled out and already have WIFI is perhaps a sneaky subsidy for some people who are already doing things and maybe, just maybe went oh the Olympics.

    Bottom line, i'm not impressed by this move by the goverment - having thought it thru and feel they are investing in area's that area already being invested in. If the goverment wants private companies to run services etc, then perhaps they should stop giving them money for things there going to do anyhow and still charge us the same price, only by the goverment getting involved we end up paying more.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Worrying

      Well put. I can't help but think that what we needed to do originally was ftth instead of adsl. Yes adsl was cheaper initially and allowed for cheaper services (although 512k wasn't all that cheap) we kept putting off what we really needed to do. Adsl is great if you live in a tent on the roof of the exchange but even a mile or two away the speed drops significantly. Vdsl is more of the same, great speeds if you live over the road but the drop off is steep.

      Put in ftth and lease access to virgin media to expand their footprint which should help offset the high costs of the civils work somewhat.

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Worrying

      Surely the problem is that the margins are so low on ADSL that the networks can't afford to pay for the bandwidth they are selling if everybody actually used it?

      If they can't do that, then it appears obvious that they aren't going to produce the cash to do infrastructure upgrades?

  4. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Down

    Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester

    No real surprise there. All done on population numbers, I suppose.

    It would have taken real intelligence to realise that there is more disposable income in Poole/Bournemouth, more chance of creating new employment in Plymouth, or more cultural need in North Wales or Norfolk.

    Frankly, I'd have thought London, Manchester, and perhaps Edinburgh were rich pickings enough to have funded this with revenue, and not needed tax money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester

      We're alright for culture, thank you bor, but a bit more employment other than on the sugar beet fields would be nice.

      I'd have thought the largest conurbations were the most likely to suck in privately funded infrastructure improvements through efficiency of scale and it would be the middle rank of cities that were big enough to get sufficient benefit but not big enough to be a draw for the telecomms that use the support.

    2. Liz 1

      Re: Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester

      If it was done on population numbers, Glasgow would be in there, not Edinburgh. But they have to keep on Salmond's right side, I suppose

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester

        Bradford? There's a by-election at the end of the month...

      2. Robert E A Harvey

        @Liz 1

        I've seen him from both sides...

    3. B_K

      Re: Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester

      I'm guessing for Bournemouth they were hoping the horrendous mess with Fibrecity will be sorted out. Google it - you couldn't make it up. The fibre has been laid for two years in places and I think not one person can use it.

  5. Thomas Davie

    This really frustrates me...

    Why do it in cities – one of the great things about this kind of service is that it allows us to get on with useful work without needing to be in a city. Shouldn't we be pushing to make sure every town has it first so that we can stop with the overcrowding and crime problems that cities produce?

  6. Si 1

    While it is annoying that I get faster broadband over a Three HSPA+ dongle than I do via BT's rusty wires, I knew I what I was getting into when I moved out of a large-ish town for the countryside. Of course with Cameron's plans to concrete over the countryside I'm sure a major conurbation will be sprawling in my direction soon.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Big Brother

      [Citation Needed]

      "Of course with Cameron's plans to concrete over the countryside I'm sure a major conurbation will be sprawling in my direction soon."

      Whilst I'm no fan of politicians of any colour, I'm really going to ahve to ask for a source on that.

  7. Julian 3
    Thumb Down

    Fast Get Faster - Slow Stay Slow

    No surprise that places already served with high speed broadband get an ever faster services whilst the rest can just crawl along forever......

    1. Goldmember

      Re: Fast Get Faster - Slow Stay Slow

      Not true. I live in Manchester, right in the city centre. When you consider the fact that thousands of flats all huddled together share the same crappy old BT kit and more are being built all the time, connection for many here is poor. We have no fibre, no cable (yes that's right, a busy city centre and we can't even get TV with Virgin Media!). The assumption that cities get preference is bollocks.

      I used to live around 5 miles out of town, and my speeds were more than twice those I get now. That was 4 years ago.

  8. Dazed and Confused

    Would help if...

    They just stopped back sliding on the plans for BT "infinity" and actually got on and did that.

  9. Steve the Cynic

    In Lille...

    Three years ago, I moved from between Reading and Oxford to Lille. My service offerings over here were various sorts of HDSPA 3G for mobile data, and either ADSL2+ (advantage: don't need to negotiate with the landlord in a foreign language for permission to do it) or 100Mbps fibre for fixed-line at-home data.

    And that's all I could choose from. There were no slower service offerings available at all.

    FAIL for British broadband offerings.

  10. Haku

    Way to go government!

    Widening the have/have not divide even further.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    High capacity in and around Bristol

    I live in a small village about 8 miles from the centre of Bristol. We have fibre - yayyyyyyy. It was laid about 7 years ago - yayyyy. It screwed up the roads (as sequentially power ad gas were renewed - three digs) - boooo

    We can't use it - why? The company who laid the cable did it on behalf of franchise that does not quite hit our postcode. No one was granted a franchise to supply our post code.

    Result - fibre comes through. Mass disruption, no benefit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: High capacity in and around Bristol

      I work for a software house, based just outside a small village about the same distance from the centre of Bristol. Our internet access is... a radio link to the bottom of the hill. Think yourself lucky!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    100 million dollars!

    Maybe I'll go to the movies... by myself.

    (Half of that's from the EU. Thank you Mr Mortimer.)

  13. Dave Bell

    Is it really the wires?

    Wouldn't it do more good to increase the network capacity on the ISP side of the exchange. Contwention ratios have more effect on me than the nominal speed of my ADSL line. I'd rather double the worst 10% of my daily speed-time plot than double the best 10%.

  14. Ocular Sinister

    I thought the communications network was privatised already

    Does this mean my hard earned cash is being handed over to BT? Why are we subsidising private businesses like this?

    1. Ru

      Re: I thought the communications network was privatised already

      Our hard earned cash, old chap. Government subsidises private business all the time, and good thing too. Capitalism is for the benefit of capitalists after all, and if you're grumbling about your hard earned cash then you're not one of them. If there's insufficient evidence than making the investment themselves will give them a decent payback, why would they bother?

      BT doesn't benefit a whole lot from giving you fibre broadband. BT isn't a charity.

      Maybe if they have to start providing pole and duct access to third parties there will be a little more commercial pressure on them to invest a little more. Til then? Better hope the government thinks you deserve FTTC in your neighbourhood.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: I thought the communications network was privatised already

        With politicians it is usually because

        - their wife owns shares in the company

        - their brother in law is on the BOD for the company

        - the company has promised to create X number of jobs in a particular MP's constituency.

        ad nauseum.

        Cynical perhaps but not exactly untrue.

        What you say is largely correct, subsidies can help and are no bad per se. The problem comes with how they are decided upon. Often a carrot and stick approach is needed, like landfill tax and subsidies for recycling projects. Don't just subsidise what you want, try and find a way of balancing it.

        Right now we have an issue with drug companies not developing new antibiotics because they view it as not as profitable as drugs that mitigate the side effects of eating like a black hole and never moving. So put a small tax (or tax increase) on something like say OTC headache medicine (which has such huge volume a small levy would have minimal impact per person but generate significant revenue) and put the revenue into research grants or something similar.

        The republicans would argue that then it would be government interfering in private business (which they seem ok with when it is bailing out banks) but if there is a need in society for something but it isn't viewed as profitable enough then surely that is where some government intervention is required. Otherwise in a decade or two's time we will be struggling to develop drugs quickly enough and deaths will increase significantly.

  15. jaycee331


    We've spent years listening to the woes of investing in fibre infrastructure in places where the economics don't fit. If no telco at all will cover some of the have not area's, I can kind of understand the need to pull the public purse strings.

    But how on this planet can that argument be deployed to London, Manchester etc..? Surely it can't, thus there is no justification whatsoever for this to be government funded programme.

  16. John A Blackley

    Calm down

    He said that ten cities will be 'dubbed' ultra fast.

    The government can spend a hundred mill on consultant fees and case studies. He didn't actually say the cities would _have_ ultra fast broadband.

  17. TheDrunkenBakers
    Thumb Down

    Forgotten again.

    How utterly rediculous. These cities typically benefit from the old Diamond Cable/Virgin cable infrastructure already and so can already access speeds upwards of 20meg at a low cost, more than enough for 99.99% of households. Companies already pay for high speed leased lines separately.

    I live just outside Newark in Nottinghamshire, about 3.5-4 miles from the exchange and get a measley 1.5meg and so accessing internet services other than browsing and the odd iTunes album is a non starter; even watching iPlayer is impossible as peak times. I have an internet TV which I would use for LoveFilm and other services if the connectivty was fast enough.

    An uplift to a sensible 5meg would be relatively inexpensive - cross the A1 about half a mile and there is Virgin infrastructure just waiting to be extended.

    If the government wants us to be a digital nation with sensible speeds for allcomers then it needs to think about improving rural and semi-rural speeds rather than increasing the already good city speeds.

  18. Ben Holmes


    I live in a cabled area. My post code says I live in a cabled area. I get all the advertising guff through from Virgin Media telling me how much more enriched my life could become if only I were to give them the small monthly sum of my firstborn.

    And yet when I called them up to enquire about offloading said sproglet for some cabled services, I am politely informed that the cable stops a few hundred metres from where it needs to be to provide me with their services, and there are no plans to extend it.


  19. Andy Davies


    Until quite recently the only people who actually lived in the City of Manchester were office caretakers.

    Same goes for other big cities.

    AndyD 8-)#

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