Ten cities in the UK to get "ultrafast" broadband

London and Birmingham are among cities earmarked for some of the fastest broadband connections in Europe.

Ten of the biggest cities in the UK will have access to "ultrafast" broadband of at least 80Mbps by 2015.

Networks will be deployed in the cities of Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle, the British chancellor George Osborne announced in his budget speech today.

The £100m rollout will provide "ultrafast" coverage to 1.7 million households and 200,000 businesses , as well as high speed wireless broadband for three million residents. The government will also provide an additional £50m to fund a wave of ten smaller "superconnected" cities.

"Two years ago Britain had some of the slowest broadband speeds in Europe; today our plans will deliver some of the fastest — with 90 percent of the population having access to super-fast broadband, and improved mobile phone coverage for rural areas and along key roads across the UK," Osborne said.

A National Infrastructure Programme report produced by the government late last year said that the government's aim is for the UK "to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, taking into account coverage, speed, price and choice of broadband services".

However while the investment in urban broadband was welcomed by David Clarke, CEO of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, he said that the government needs to ensure that there is access to high speed broadband across the UK.

"It is equally important that we don't lose sight of the need to invest in broadband access across the whole of the UK to ensure that we have a truly digitally enabled society," he said.

Broadband speeds vary widely across the UK, with a recent survey by price comparison site uSwitch finding that one third of households get broadband speeds well below the national average of 5Mbps.

A separate £530m fund will help finance the rollout of 25Mbps+ broadband to areas - typically rural - where it isn't economically viable for the market to deploy superfast connectivity, with the aim of providing these speeds to 90 per cent of the UK by 2015.


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

cybershooters 1 Like

Since when is 80 Mbps considered "ultrafast". That's anything over 10 Gbps in my book. I have clients in the UK, I always have to explain to providers that solution X won't work because the internet is so crap in the UK. Like all these "cloud" based solutions, you can't leverage technology that isn't there. 4G? What the hell is 4G? 3G dongles - they don't work that well in the UK because of the building density, same with smartphones. All kinds of weird dead spots. "Oh but you can sync your contacts and calendar OTA" - no you can't, not without a stable connection. You need USB sync. Drops down into GPRS and takes forever. I can give endless examples, DSL that won't work, too far from the exchange, not being able to put cable in because the street has been there for 1,000 years and they don't want to dig it up. Listed buildings you can't put towers on or cable under. Shaky network services, etc.

Koko Bill
Koko Bill

...hi people...dont get yourself in Belgrade, Serbia we have 6Mb/s for just 25e per month...BUT...upload is just 512Kb/ comment anymore.....enjoy your conections....(and average wage in Serbia is 150 Euros per, think about it....


1 Gbps has been normal since several years ago (here in Yokohama). Same for most big cities in Japan (not sure if Korea is faster..)


This is all very well if you live in one of these areas, however the rest of us have to suffer with a service that belongs in a third-world country. This, along with regional wage-agreements etc, is yet another "nail in the coffin" for deprived areas of the UK. I live in the Blackpool area, fewer than 3kms from my local exchange, and am lucky to get 2Mbs, which I think is nothing short of pathetic in the 21st century!


I can't even get broadband what so ever. I have to rely on a 3g dongle (which is useless to me as a web developer). I got a letter the other day saying by 2015 they are planning to get 90% of the UK on broadband of a minimum of 2mbs. Unfortunatly that probably means those of us who cannot get broadband at the moment still won't be able to by 2015

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