back to article Dozen more cities to get ultrafast broadband cash in gloomy UK budget

George Osborne promised 12 more UK cities £50m in funding to roll out ultrafast broadband during his mini-budget speech this lunchtime. He added that £1bn could be saved if public services were shifted online. The chancellor admitted to Parliament that he had fallen short of his deficit and debt cutting targets, but insisted …


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  1. Steve Foster

    Not exactly much he could do...

    The wider economic environment, coupled with the enormous amounts of money pissed up against the wall by Brown & co, mean that we don't exactly have a lot of room for manoeuvre.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Not exactly much he could do...

      Nonsense. Last time I looked it was the financial industry that crashed the economy in 2008. Fat Gordon was always there to shill for them. But if he hadn't been on their side, he could have done a lot more to avoid the crash.

      Spending more on nurses and teachers was never an issue, and still isn't today - not to anyone who knows real economics, and isn't just parroting the usual bollocks.

      As for Osbo - he could tax mansions and land. He could tax corporations and executive pay. He could get all Keynesian and invest money in useful infrastructure, creating real and useful jobs and lifting consumer spending.

      He does none of these things because all he cares about is getting wages down and paying people who do real work less and less, so his Etonian chums pocket more and more cash.

      Don't believe me? Check out the 27% increase paid to FTSE-100 execs, sourced from that well known far-left Trotskyist rag the Daily Telegraph.

      Funny how 'we're all in this together' has become 'but some are more in it than others.'

      1. El Presidente
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not exactly much he could do...

        Funny how 'we're all in this together' has become 'but some are more in it than others.'

        'twas always the case.

        First poster must have voted Tory, obv.

    2. LarsG

      Rather than

      Rather than giving more cities hyper fast broadband how about investing it in areas that doesn't have it?

      Spread the spend and all of us in the sticks would get medium fast broadband and we'd all be really happy with that!

      Sod the cities.

  2. Craig 12

    Search article for "birmingham". No matches.

    I don't see why all the surrounding areas of brum all have fibre or cable, but the city centre isn't scheduled for fibre until December 2013. I think they recently set that date because they couldn't be bothered pushing it back every 3 months any more.

    You can argue whether or not we're still the "second city", but we're big enough for fast internet in the centre, dammit!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a pretty poor showing if the 2nd biggest city can't afford to boost it's broadband by itself and instead has to rely on handouts from the rest of the country.

      1. Craig 12

        I think it's sad that el reg now has trolls like you, but hey ho.

    2. Ragarath

      I take it BT are funding this themselves as their should be a business case in such a big City. I wonder if BT are trying to get the BDUK funds first and so putting off viable options?

    3. Z80


      Try searching this article for Birmingham instead:

  3. Ross Luker

    Ultrafast broadband for the cities, very nice - how about something above "dog slow" for my village?

    1. gbru2606

      Are these any good in the country? How about a review Reg? I'd like to see someone just bypassing the BT stranglehold on our landlines altogether.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That £1bn saving......

    "He added that £1bn could be saved if public services were shifted online."

    Just what online public services are going to require fibre broadband exactly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That £1bn saving......

      Presumably so all the bin men can work from home.

  5. Ragarath

    2 statements do not add up

    George Osborne promised 12 more UK cities £50m in funding to roll out

    He added that £1bn could be saved if public services were shifted online.

    Right, so, he wants to shift services online, but continues to ignore the country. Good luck with that. Unless you get the access to everyone your not going to be making big savings.

    I also assume these savings are coming from people laid off, less buildings rented etc. If that is so,are you not just causing another part of the Government to get less money as all the people affected will not be paying tax anymore?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2 statements do not add up

      You will make more savings by spending money once on a densely populated city and thus having all the millions of people in that city using online services compared to spending more money on many small rural towns and villages inhabited by a few thousand people.

      If you don't like it, either move or stop complaining. Living in rural areas instead of a city has always been a trade-off of convenience vs nice countryside etc. It's no different when it comes to Internet connections. Spending money on making big cities have better connections is the right priority for the economy and from a logical point of view of benefiting more people. It's the reason why generally everything new comes to cities first and to expect it any other way is absurd.

      1. mrfill

        Re: 2 statements do not add up

        If you want to use the 'move or stop complaining' argument, why don't you stop complaining and move to South Korea where speeds are vastly better throughout the country?

  6. gbru2606


    This amount is probably less than the sum total the people of these cities spend in a couple of weeks on the Lotto. I just don't get the whole idea of government subsidies for fast broadband. Do BT just mosey along afterwards and get to charge people through the nose to use infrastructure that taxpayers have built? How does it work?

    1. Tom Wood

      Re: Confused....

      BT just mosey along afterwards and get to charge people through the nose to use infrastructure that taxpayers have built

      BT's business model is based on doing just that... remember most of their infrastructure used to be nationally-owned.

    2. feanor

      Re: Confused....

      Why change a winning formula?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Online public services

    My council apparently lets me handle my council tax online, but after creating an account, waiting 1 month to get it approved, writing emails and trying to prove who I am, apparently I only have a council account and it takes further approval to enable paying my council tax bill online. Months later and after lots of time and effort, I still don't have it.

    My utility bills on the other hand were all set up within minutes and I now pay those bills and manage my accounts online. I would go as far to say that the website for my water company is a pleasure to use and makes my life easier. I suppose the difference is they actually WANT my money? Something tells me they probably spent less money than the local council did though with all the bureaucracy that entails. It's really pathetic at the time it takes and the money involved for government agencies to catch up.

    1. gbru2606

      Re: Online public services

      Your water company is very rich indeed, and getting richer thanks to yearly hikes in prices. After all, they're selling you water, as well as getting further state handouts to deal with flooding, and charging you a pretty penny for the rain that runs down the drain! No one bats an eyelid when they're still blaming Victorian drains for flooding sewage into rivers and the sea. Great websites though, I agree.

      On the other hand, your council is probably broke, and getting broker (sic). Don't worry. Local government wont exist in about five years. Expect your council tax to be delivering tidy profits to shareholders overseas. So by then you'll pay for police, health, water and education three times instead of the current twice. You'll pay both your council tax and your income tax, and then you'll pay these companies every time you need something done. I'm sure by then they'll have great websites though.

  8. The Alpha Klutz

    some elite a thousand miles away is gunna vote on our broadband

    the EU is shit isnt it... i mean are there any practical benefits at all??

    1. All names Taken
      Paris Hilton

      Re: some elite a thousand miles away is gunna vote on our broadband

      Yes and no.

      To some of the multinationals the UK market (important to us) is trivial compared to the market in Brazil, India, Russia, China, Korea, ... A nation of about 60 million does not have a great pull.

      But as part of EU we have a part voice in a bunch of collective voices.

      The same argument holds for any European nation with its own language and culture - we are relatively weak as singleton nations and relatively strong as nations "together".

      Brits also suffer a bit because we drive on the wrong side of the wrong compared to the rest of the world.

      All these consequences arise because UK was once a strong and very influential nation (partly because of the British Empire (now gone))

      In all of these compromise arrangements there will be an influence on outcomes by nations not in full agreement with the way Brits want things done.

      Do the costs justify the results?

      Ans: well, that is a different question?

    2. Blitheringeejit

      > are there any practical benefits at all??

      Depends - are you a farmer, career politician, or international tax lawyer?

      I used to be an enthusiastic EU-phile, in the days when they forced unwilling Tory governments to accept stuff like human rights and environmental quality standards. But these days I wonder, I really wonder.

      1. The Alpha Klutz

        Re: > are there any practical benefits at all??

        the stronger as one rhetoric seems great till you see EU nations rolling in cash and conversely other nations killing each-other on the streets for lack of cash. Real strong commitment to the ideals of the EU there.

    3. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: some elite a thousand miles away is gunna vote on our broadband

      Roads, aqueducts etc.

      Always look on the bright side of life!

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Can't make a compelling financial case

    For Cambridge, .... Oxford ?

    I mean it's not like there is much startup, high-tech, online sort of businesses there.

    Obviously not on the scale of silicon roundabout

  10. Derek Law

    Hard to see the need..

    In Cambridge there is a lot of fibre (it was Cambridge Cable which put in a most of the infrastructure) even out to many of the surrounding villages - I live 8 miles away and have 120Mbps courtesy of Virgin. I don't really see what this money can be spent on.

    1. James 100

      Re: Hard to see the need..

      I was surprised to see Cambridge and Oxford on the list too - and Perth, where I am, where BT has already rolled out FTTC to the only BT exchange (ESPER) and Virgin have most of the place wired for the so-called "fibre" coax service too - which was supposed to be 120 Mbps, though the website only mentions 100 Mbps again now. Even before FTTC hit, ADSL speeds seem to be pretty good, both BT and unbundled operators (both C&W/Bulldog and Sky/Easynet, as well as TalkTalk/AOL). Where's the funding need?! Maybe there are gaps in the surrounding countryside, but hard to believe those are the most pressing.

      Perth in particular is just 20 miles from the (larger) Dundee, whose central exchange ('Dundee Steeple'/ESMAI) still has no FTTC installation date. (It's also the exchange which serves both my brother's home connection and my office...) It lags far behind Perth already ... so it's Perth that gets extra funding to improve further?!

  11. Colin Millar

    Meanwhile - somewhere that isn't Noddy land

    Public services don't move to online. They copy to online. Sure the savings can be big but it is usually at the expense of stripping out the "public" part of public services and increasing exclusion.

    Of course - when that happens the services are deemed no longer effective as they are failing to reach those who need them most so they get dumped and replaced with a couple of platitudes from a minister and a committee (on full expenses) looking at why the poor are so feckless.

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