Chancellor hands Portsmouth vital superfast broadband grant

BOOST The whole of Portsmouth will benefit from superfast broadband
BOOST The whole of Portsmouth will benefit from superfast broadband

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Portsmouth is on its way to becoming one of the best connected cities in the UK, after the Chancellor approved grant funding for the city to get total superfast broadband coverage.

Portsmouth City Council had applied for £6m from the Urban Broadband Fund, which will be used to part-fund the £13m project.

Not only would it mean homes and businesses in the city could have superfast fibreoptic broadband, but having the entire city covered would mean wireless broadband services could be set up across Portsmouth.

Children could get easier access to online learning; NHS and council staff could spend more time mobile, working with people in the community; and tourists could find out more about city attractions.

Wireless technology could also lead to CCTV cameras which could be moved wherever they were needed, and even smarter traffic lights.

Kathy Wadsworth, the council’s director of regeneration, said: ‘Our ambition is to be a globally competitive economy, and this means our residents and businesses need access to the best technology.

‘Winning this bid will enable us to improve our network, encouraging businesses to come here and grow.

‘Children who have reliable broadband at home achieve better GCSE results than those who don’t.

‘Proper internet access also helps people compete in the jobs market, and helps them save money.

‘In today’s world, it also helps them keep in touch and stay connected to others.

‘With the right technology, the council and other public bodies can also work more efficiently – offering services in the way that’s most convenient for people.’

The council also plans to provide reduced-rate or free broadband to deprived areas in the city.

Currently only 88 per cent of the city is able to connect to superfast broadband services, because the hardware to do so is not currently in place.

The remaining £7m funding for the project will be added by the council, other public bodies in the city, and local businesses.