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‘Ultrafast’ broadband to be rolled out across Salford as Chancellor unveils £50million budget in Autumn Statement

By Dean Wilkins

A multi-million pound boost will extend ultrafast broadband from Manchester to Salford after Chancellor George Osborne announced plans during his concerning Autumn Statement today.

The Treasury have set aside an extra £50million to deliver high-speed internet to a further 12 cities, after Manchester shared a slice of a £114million pot earlier in the year.

The infrastructure boost will offer up to 100Mbps broadband across homes and businesses in Salford, Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Oxford, Portsmouth, Salford, York, Newport, Aberdeen, Perth and Londonderry.

Salford City Council made a successful bid for funding earlier this year. The Chancellor’s announcement means Salford will receive £7.1m in funding, some of which will be matched by private investment. Broadband services will now reach 98% of the city.

The investment will help businesses across Salford to expand due to increased connectivity.

Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart said: “Salford is the home of MediaCityUK, the most advanced technology centre in Western Europe, and with this funding the rest of the city will enjoy ultrafast broadband to encourage business growth.

“The council put in a big effort and bold plans to ensure that the funding came to Salford. With the money in place, we are able to give small and medium sized businesses a genuine boost.”

The government are aiming to establish the UK as Europe’s fastest internet providing country by 2015.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “Fast broadband is essential for growth and the creation of jobs. We have made significant progress with our broadband programme over the last few months, cutting through EU red tape and that continues.

“Salford has produced ambitious and comprehensive plans, which will turn the city into a digital leader, and give the local economy a real boost.  The new investment will help put the city at the centre of the digital stage, competing for jobs and investment and supporting Britain in the global race.”

The investment will help cities increase their presence in the digital revolution while boosting job numbers and businesses.

But following the government’s announcement roll out super-fast services across ten cities earlier in the Autumn, Labour criticised the decision for masking disappointments.

“This government is disguising its failure to roll out universal broadband by making yet another re-announcement about the superconnected cities programme,” said Shadow Minister for Media and Telecoms Helen Goodman.

“It is also unlikely that the government will meet its target of rolling out super-fast broadband to 90% of premises by 2015.”

Mr Osborne’s statement also revealed the scrapping of a planned 3p fuel increase, increasing the tax threshold to £9,440 and 40% tax rate up to £42,285 by 2016 and an increasingly inconsistent economic growth rate.

The period of austerity has been increased by another 12 months as the government aims to be out of the economic gloom by 2017/18 – the economy is expected to shrink by 0.1% this year.

Child benefits and Job Seekers Allowance will go up by 1%, lower than the current inflation rate of 2.2%, during the next three years.

Picture courtesy of altogetherfool, with thanks

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