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Bristol bids to be world-class super-connected city
Release date: Tue, 14/02/2012
Bristol is bidding to become a world-class super-connected city, offering broadband speeds and Wi-Fi connectivity on a par with the best cities around the world.
Bristol City Council has submitted an ambitious bid for a share of £100 million from Government. The £22m bid would see investment from Government matched by investment from major Telecoms providers.
Just before Christmas, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, launched the £100M Urban Broadband Fund with the aim of creating up to 10 UK cities to provide a showcase delivering “Singaporean levels of broadband connectivity” to businesses and consumers.
Bristol’s bid is called Gigabit Bristol and it is centred around a large, centrally-located area of the city comprising Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, Harbourside and the University. This 400-hectare area includes 5,000 businesses, 5,000 university students, 5,000 social housing tenants and 7 million people passing through every year.
It will ensure that gigabit connectivity is readily available to businesses and that ultrafast broadband is available to consumers.
The Council also aims to extend Wi-Fi coverage both in the gigabit zone and across the city as a whole, providing open access Wi-Fi to approximately 80% of the city’s public spaces. To achieve this, the Council would work with Telecoms providers to build on our existing 650 hot-spot B-Open network, which is currently used by university staff, students and members of the public.
The Council is also proposing to develop an Ultrafast Demonstration Studio at Temple Meads, to provide business and consumers the opportunity to experience next generation broadband enabled services, such as High Definition Video Conferencing.
Council Leader Barbara Janke said: “Securing ultrafast broadband and extending Wi-Fi is key to maintaining and growing Bristol’s world-class knowledge economy.
“We want Bristol’s businesses and communities to benefit from the very best digital infrastructure, to put us on a level with world-class connected cities such as Singapore.
“The creative industries in Bristol employ around 9,000 people, making up 12% of all businesses in the city including Aardman Animations, BBC’s Natural History Unit, Endemol West and many other independent film and production companies. We have a clear vision to increase the size and impact of these types of businesses - our newly established Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone is testament to this ambition.
“Our bid is very strong and we have the ambition, knowledge and skills to make this project a success.”
It is expected that the Chancellor will announce the results in next month’s Budget. The Government has already stated that the four capitals - London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast - will benefit while the other cities will be chosen through a competition.