Public urban broadband funding may not be all good news
As planned, the government this month confirmed the amount of funding it would offer to ten UK cities under a project designed to boost super-fast broadband coverage in underserved urban areas.
While we knew the announcement was coming, the exact details were a little surprising - specifically, the fact that an additional £14 million of public money has been allocated to the initiative.
On the face of things, that seems like good news. The project is pretty ambitious, aiming to provide householders and businesses with ultra-fast broadband connectivity (defined as offering speeds of between 80 and 100Mbps), as well as high-speed wireless internet access.
However, the extra funding also raises a couple of question marks - not that we're trying to put a downer on a largely positive announcement.
Firstly, it's not currently clear where the additional £14 million is coming from. We certainly don't want to see these ten major cities pinching a chunk of money from the Broadband Delivery UK framework, which is predominantly designed to improve connectivity in rural areas.
Just as questionable, meanwhile, is whether the so-called 'super-connected cities' initiative should even exist in the first place.
There's no doubt that some inner-city communities are stuck with poor broadband services - the Isle of Dogs in London is one such example.
However, we're not so sure it should be left up to the taxpayer to foot the bill for rolling out faster broadband in these communities.
Using public subsidy to encourage deployments in rural communities with dispersed populations is all well and good, but shouldn't internet service providers already have enough incentive to offer the best possible broadband in major towns and cities?
Sadly, it appears the government has opted to ignore this fact and throw tens of millions of pounds at the problem in the hope it'll go away. We just hope rural residents and businesses don't miss out as a result of this decision.
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