Bid for faster broadband is speeding up

Council bosses are getting set to finalise a bid to bring super-fast broadband to Cambridgeshire.

Ten big cities, including Leeds, Cardiff and Bristol, have already been picked by the Government to share in a £50 million fund, called Super-Connected Cities, aimed at speeding up internet connections.

Ministers have now set aside another £50 million for 10 smaller cities, and Cambridge is on a list of 27 possible recipients.

To get the cash, the city council has teamed up with South Cambridgeshire District Council and the county council to submit a bid to the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

Members of the district council’s cabinet are due to vote on finalising the bid next Thursday.

The three councils are also teaming up to apply for Government money from a different scheme, called Future Cities.

This is aimed at funding projects that aim to integrate transport systems and other services electronically.

In a report to the cabinet, South Cambridgeshire’s executive director for corporate services, Alex Colyer, said: “This is a key decision for the council because it is likely to be significant in terms of its effects on communities with contiguous connectivity with Cambridge’s urban boundary – Histon and Impington, Orchard Park, Milton, Teversham, Fulbourn, The Shelfords, Stapleford, Grantchester and Girton.”

Cllr Nick Wright, the district council’s portfolio holder for planning and economic development, said: “I’m fully behind this.

“There are still too many parts of the area where broadband connections are too slow.

“We’re in a district of proven growth, in spite of the recession, and we want to do well for our businesses. If we are to continue growing, faster broadband is essential.”

The Super-Connected Cities scheme was announced by Chancellor George Osborne, who pledged £100 million to create 100Mbps – megabit per second – citywide networks in 10 urban areas.

By 2015 it is hoped the investments in cities will provide faster broadband coverage to 1.7 million households nationwide, and high-speed wireless broadband for three million residents.

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