Budget 2012: UK to get 10 'super-connected' broadband cities

21 March 2012

Broadband speeds in the UK will become the fastest in the world, Chancellor George Osborne announced in the 2012 Budget.

This will be achieved through a scheme to make 10 major cities across the UK "super-connected" with extra fast broadband speeds thanks to a £100 million government handout.

The chosen cities are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Manchester, Bradford and Newcastle.

An extra £50 million will also be given to improve broadband access in 10 smaller unnamed cities across the country.

What about rural areas?

The idea of "super-connected" cities was first spoken about in the Autumn Statement last year and it's hoped that by 2015 this will be achieved.

Consumer groups have slammed the decision as leaving behind those living in rural areas and creating an urban elite.

"Today's news is cold comfort for those living and working in the outlying rural regions, being left ever further behind in digital poverty," says Dominic Baliszewski, spokesperson for Broadbandchoices.

Julia Stent, spokesperson for uSwitch.com, echoes this sentiment. "The government's chief concern should be the provision of a service to those areas lacking decent broadband infrastructure before pursuing the likes of Korea and Singapore. Bringing an appreciable average speed to those in rural areas who have been forever languishing in the slow lane must be of equal importance," she adds.

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