Edinburgh tries to rescue £10m from UBF wreck
Rather than lose the £10.7m earmarked for Edinburgh under BDUK’s Urban Broadband Fund, The Scotsman reports the city’s fathers have reframed their bid as follows:
£2.7m for wi-fi in public transport and council buildings; £3m for vouchers for small businesses; £4m to support start-up businesses in “key sectors” such as the creative industries; and £1m for an online archive of programmes and reviews from previous Edinburgh festivals.
Edinburgh councillors were forced to this after BT and Virgin Media complained to the European Commission that Birmingham’s Superconnected Cities roll-out would violate state aid rules, and BDUK had to suspend the entire £150m programme while the Eurocrats considered their verdict.
The government’s recent review of major projects warned that both the UBF and the Next Generation Access projects are amber/red-lighted, ie. in danger of failing.
If it’s accepted, it’s hard to see how it would contribute to the UBF’s goal of getting 100Mbps services into the UK’s biggest cities.
The cities that are destined to share the loot may never see it if the decision comes after the 2015 UK election, so Edinburgh is at least trying to rescue something from the UBF debacle.