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27 cities to compete for 'ultra-fast' broadband funding

The government has revealed the 27 smaller cities that will go up against each other for a share in a £50m super-fast broadband upgrade pot, with only 10 winners to be named
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The government has named the 27 cities shortlisted for a share of millions in funding for 'ultra-fast' broadband.

It has already selected 10 large cities that will get part of a £100m pot for the fibre broadband upgrade, and it plans to choose another 10 smaller places that will be allocated money from a separate £50m fund to do the same. The 27-strong shortlist for the smaller pot was announced on Friday by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Those now bidding for the super-fast broadband funding are: Aberdeen, Brighton & Hove, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Exeter, Gloucester, Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, Londonderry/Derry, Newport, Norwich, Oxford, Perth, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Salford, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Wolverhampton and York.

The successful applicants will get the opportunity to provide local residents and businesses with fibre broadband speeds in the range of 80-100Mbps, as well as high-speed wireless connectivity.

"These ultra-fast speeds will allow more cities in the UK to compete with the fastest in the world, bringing new opportunities for growth, the development of high-tech industries and the transformation of public services," culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement.

To qualify for the shortlist, cities had to cover at least 45,000 homes and businesses, or at least 35,000 in the case of those in Northern Ireland. They also had to be places that ISPs such as BT were not already targeting in their private-sector rollouts.

By 18 May, the government will give the cities on the shortlist guidance on the next stage of the bidding process. They will now need to come up with plans for how they would use their share of the £50m, and the winners will be announced in the autumn.

The larger cities that get to share the £100m pot are: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester and Sheffield. All are now working on detailed plans for their deployments, the DCMS said.

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