CityFibre would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the ten cities (Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds, Bradford, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London) receiving preliminary awards under the government’s £100m Super-Connected Cities fund. Today’s budget also contained encouraging confirmation that Central Government recognises the growing importance of world-class connectivity as a key element of economic development and revitalisation, in the form of a further commitment of £50m for a second wave of investment.

Whilst these developments are inarguably positive steps in the right direction, we are, frankly, disappointed at the absolute level of financial commitment relative to the sheer enormity of the challenge of deploying genuinely future-proof broadband infrastructure across the UK. While £150m is a considerable amount of investment, it pales in comparison to multi-billion pound rail projects promising unclear economic benefits over much longer time horizons. This disconnect suggests that government still fails to fully appreciate the transformative potential of a truly robust broadband infrastructure for the nation over the longer term, and is thus unwilling to commit a level of investment appropriate to the challenge at hand.

While this situation is lamentable, it confirms our long-held belief that the solution to the UK’s broadband problem is to be found in a multi-faceted investment approach involving new entrepreneurial capital, in addition to traditional sources of investment from both the private and public sectors. The funding gap to be filled is still simply too large for it to be otherwise, and today’s announcement, while welcomed, does little to alter that fact.

James Enck – Corporate Development – CityFibre

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