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Chancellor’s Autumn Statement: What it means for the tech industry

More cities getting high speed broadband confirmed

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament, and while the focus was on the faltering economy there were a few points for the tech industry to feast on.

The main news was the announcement of which cities will be next in line for ultra-fast broadband.

Osborne confirmed a previously-announced pot of £50m that will be used to fund the next phase of the government’s super-connected cities initiative. Aberdeen, Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Derry, Newport, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth, Salford and York have been added to the list that was originally announced in his March Budget.

"The news today that the Government is allocating funding to bring 12 cities ultra-fast broadband is welcome news for the market and is another demonstration by the Government that more needs to be done to increase broadband speeds in the UK," said Dana Tobak, managing director of Hyperoptic.

"Not-spots are still prevalent across many urban areas it has named. We hope that these funds will be used to plug these gaps and concentrate on the last mile to future-proof our networks," she added.

Tobak also implored the government to consider smaller companies when it comes to picking who will rollout the ultra-fast broadband connections.

"As part of the funds allocation the Government also needs to be sure it is considering all types of proven solution providers. We urge the Government to allocate these funds via a fair and open process that is accessible to those companies that have proven they can efficiently implement fibre technology regardless of their size," she said.

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There was also praise for the introduction of a government-backed business bank, which aims to support SMBs by providing investment that traditional banks may not offer.

Ryan Ward, head of Europe at sales performance management firm Xactly, said the bank should help start-ups in the UK develop.

"There were a few positives in today’s autumn statement, with the chancellor highlighting the need to support SMEs and the technology sector as a whole. I welcome the additional £1bn extra capital for the Business Bank which should help boost confidence in the UK start-up market and foster innovation in Britain’s fast growing technology sector."

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