Portsmouth hopes to get a broadband internet boost

Portsmouth is hoping to improve its broadband connections
Portsmouth is hoping to improve its broadband connections
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Portsmouth is making a £13m bid to become one of the best-connected cities in the country.

Super-fast broadband could become a reality for every home and business in Portsmouth if the city council is successful in its bid for cash to boost its internet capability and wireless coverage.

Some residents could even get free wireless access in their neighbourhoods and it would provide a boon for local businesses.

It would make getting online easier for schoolchildren, and NHS and council staff could spend more time mobile, working with people in the community, and tourists could find out more about city attractions.

Kathy Wadsworth, the city 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 has applied for £6m from the government’s Urban Broadband Fund with the other £7m coming from the council, public bodies and local businesses.

The goal of 100 per cent superfast broadband capability would mean that any home or business would have the option of signing up for a superfast connection. At the moment the hardware is not in place for this to be possible everywhere in the city.

If the bid is succesful and the hardware is installed, wireless technology could also lead to CCTV cameras which could be moved wherever they were needed, and smarter traffic lights.

An announcement of winning bids is expected as part of the Chancellor’s autumn statement on December 5.