Bristol applies for ultra-fast broadband cash
Bristol City Council (BCC) has submitted a bid for government broadband funding to support its ambition to become one of the best-connected places in the world.
The local authority's application for state aid came as part of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition's £100 million Urban Broadband Fund, which aims to deliver "Singaporean levels" of connectivity to up to ten of the UK's largest cities.
Successful bidders will be given financial support to roll out fibre optic broadband with speeds of between 40 and 80Mbps to areas in each city that look set to miss out on private sector deployments, while a fast wireless broadband network will also be created in each location.
BCC described its project - entitled Gigabit Bristol - as "ambitious" and revealed it will involve £22 million of funding from the government and major telecoms providers.
The bid is based around a centrally-located area that includes the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, Harbourside and the university. Some 5,000 businesses, 5,000 students and 5,000 social housing tenants are located in this 400-hectare area, which is visited by around seven million people every year.
According to the council, the project will see ultra-fast broadband extended to consumers, while businesses will be able to take advantage of gigabit speeds.
Council leader Barbara Janke said: "Securing ultra-fast broadband and extending Wi-Fi is key to maintaining and growing Bristol's world-class knowledge economy.
"We want Bristol's businesses and communities to benefit from the very best digital infrastructure, to put us on a level with world-class connected cities such as Singapore.
"Our bid is very strong and we have the ambition, knowledge and skills to make this project a success."
Bristol will find out if its application has been successful in next month's Budget speech.
Earlier this week, Leeds and Bradford announced they had teamed up to submit a bid for the Urban Broadband Fund in order to deliver ultra-fast broadband to 88,000 homes and 16,000 businesses in the Leeds City Region.