Brighton secures its place on the digital industries map after its bid to central government for funding to install ultrafast broadband and public WiFi in the business district was successful.
Following a high-profile ‘Let Brighton Bid’ campaign [see earlier story] spearheaded by Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, the George Osborne announced as part of today’s Autumn Statement that the city will receive £5m from the £50m national scheme which is part of a national infrastructure plan.
The government’s original scheme was limited to the big Metropolitan boroughs and larger cities but following campaigning from all three Brighton & Hove MPs, The Argus, the City Council and digital membership body Wired Sussex it was extended to include smaller cities.
Becoming a super-connected city means broadband speeds of up to 100mbs against a current average of 10mbs. It means that large quantities of data can be transmitted quickly and it effectively reduces the virtual distance between Brighton and London and anywhere else in the world.
Brighton already has a burgeoning digital cluster that is growing at two and a half times the national average and the provision of ultrafast broadband will remove a barrier to further growth by increasing the efficiency of the sector. The City Council has estimated that the funding could bring £125 million per annum into the local economy, creating 1,000 new jobs and boosting the city’s already impressive rate of new start up companies.
Coventry, Salford, Cambridge, Derby, Oxford, Portsmouth, York, Perth, Newport, Derry in Northern Ireland and Aberdeen are among the 12 cities to receive a share of the £50m pot.
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Brighton & Hove City Council