Leeds has won a multi-million pound funding boost for its efforts to tap into the country’s high-speed internet revolution.
A joint bid by Leeds and Bradford for cash that will help them become “super-connected cities” has been 100 per cent successful, it was announced today.
The cities will now receive £14.4m of Government funding for investment in their broadband internet networks.
Connection speeds 40 times faster than basic internet set-ups will as a result be made available to an extra 25,000 residential and 7,000 business premises by 2015.
Free wireless connectivity will also be put in place in “key strategic areas” of Leeds and Bradford city centres.
Commuters will benefit too, with free on-board wireless being established on the Leeds-Bradford transport corridor.
Announcing the funding, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “Fast broadband is essential for growth, and is key to the country’s economic future.
“Leeds and Bradford have produced an ambitious and comprehensive plan, which will turn them into digital leaders, and give the local economies a real boost.
“The new investment will help put the cities at the centre of the digital stage, competing for jobs and investment with the best in the world.”
Leeds and Bradford have been handed the full level of funding they sought when they submitted their super-connected cities bid in February this year.
Other places in line for support include Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham.
The successful bidders were announced in the Budget in March but the amount awarded to each one has been kept under wraps until today.
Welcoming the backing, Coun Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy, said: “Today’s announcement of £14.4m funding for Leeds and Bradford is excellent news, and the fact that we have been allocated the top amount of funding that we asked for shows an enormous amount of confidence in the proposals we put forward.
“This funding will enable us to transform our economy and set standards for international competitiveness.
“Our ambitious proposals will support both existing and new businesses, as well as local residents, [in taking] advantage of the opportunities that enhanced broadband connections will bring.”