Wales Office Minister, David Jones is urging the cities of Swansea and Newport to seize the opportunity to become a Super-Connected City, and revolutionise the way their residents and businesses get online.
Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt announced earlier this month that Swansea and Newport are eligible to bid for a share of a £50million funding pot designed to help them roll out ultrafast broadband.
This is the second round of funding available, with ten of the UK’s largest cities, including Cardiff, already working on detailed plans to upgrade their networks.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has today (25 May) published guidance on the bidding process for the second tranche of funding, and cities must produce plans for a contiguous area offering fixed ultrafast broadband as well as high speed wireless connectivity.
Encouraging Swansea and Newport to stake their claim on their share of the funding on offer, Mr Jones said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for these cities to reap the benefits that could come from achieving Super-Connected status.
“By having access to ultrafast broadband, businesses can expand, develop new markets and compete with others around the world. It also allows local communities to access public services more quickly and efficiently online.
“Providing Wales with high-speed broadband is essential for businesses to grow and to create the new jobs we need. That is why the UK Government believes broadband is essential not only for everyday life, but also for the future economic success of the UK.
“I would encourage both Swansea and Newport to submit the most robust bids possible and seize the opportunity to add further Welsh cities to the super-connected roster.”
The guidance can be found on the DCMS website at www.culture.gov.uk
Notes to editors:
The guidance can be seen here: http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/telecommunications_and_online/8830.aspx
The Chancellor, George Osborne announced the new fund in this year’s Budget. It is anticipated that the funding which will help create around 10 super-connected cities with 80-100Mbps broadband access.
The winning cities will be announced in the Autumn Statement later this year.
Ofcom defines superfast broadband as above 24Mbps. For the Super-Connected Cities programme, ultrafast means speeds as close to 80-100Mbps as is currently possible. Ultrafast includes technologies, principally fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), that are capable of up to 80Mbps and are ultimately up-gradable to 100Mbps or more.