Bradford and Leeds bid for share of £100m Urban Broadband Fund
Bradford and Leeds have joined forces to bid for a share of £100 million of state aid to support the rollout of ultra-fast broadband in the Yorkshire cities.
As part of the Leeds City Region Partnership's (LCRP's) strategy to boost the economy, create more jobs and encourage a more inclusive society for all, Leeds City and Bradford councils have submitted an application for the government's Urban Broadband Fund (UBF).
Unveiled by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt last December, the UBF will offer cash to up to ten of the UK's largest cities to help fund the deployment of broadband with speeds of 80 to 100Mbps.
As well as Bradford and Leeds, 12 other municipalities - including Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester - are in the running to secure a chunk of the money, with the winners set to be announced in next month's Budget speech.
If LCRP's proposals are accepted, the funding will be used to roll out ultra-fast broadband with speeds of 100Mbps or more to 88,000 homes and more than 16,000 businesses, while plans are afoot to extend the technology to the rest of the Leeds City Region in years to come.
At present, the majority of local properties are only able to access speeds of between 2 and 10Mbps, meaning the project aims to create a new broadband standard for the region with download rates that are at least ten times faster.
In addition to the ultra-fast fixed broadband infrastructure, full Wi-Fi connectivity will be rolled out in Bradford and Leeds city centres, and along key transport corridors.
Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: "The two cities' economies are integrally linked and are the driving force for the wider growth of the city region economy.
"It therefore made absolute sense to prepare a joint submission and the funding we have bid for will enable us to transform our economies and set the standards for international competitiveness."
- Tell us what you think about broadband in Leeds
- Leeds City Council
- Leeds City Region Partnership (LCRP)