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Some of the cities earmarked to benefit from the government's Urban Broadband Fund do not require any help, it has been claimed.

In his Autumn Statement this week, George Osborne named 12 cities that are set to receive a share of a £50 million pot to provide them with widespread ultrafast broadband coverage of between 80Mb and 100Mb.

Although the measure was supported by many of the areas set to benefit, some have questioned the decision to award funding to Derry, Portsmouth and Brighton.

All three cities have widespread access to superfast broadband and ultrafast speeds are already available in many areas; Derry alone has 99.1 per cent coverage of superfast broadband, which is the highest in the UK.

It also has one of the highest superfast broadband take-up rates in the UK, standing at 14 per cent, suggesting investment may be best made elsewhere.

However, as the fund is also intended to expand Wi-Fi connections in the cities earmarked for funding, Derry representatives have argued that the city is a worthy beneficiary.

Sharon O'Connor, Derry City Council Town Clerk and Chief Executive, said she was confident this announcement would allow the council to extend its existing wireless city network to cover other parts of the city, and enhance existing network capacity to meet future demands.

Meanwhile, Councillor Kevin Campbell, Mayor of Derry, said he is "delighted" that the council's bid was successful.

He added: "We are confident that we will now be able to support the development of ultrafast broadband networks within a number of key economic development zones across the City (Digital Zones) and put in place the infrastructure required to provide Fibre-to-the-Premises to make them capable of supporting ultrafast services at affordable prices."

The investment is set to be rolled out next year as part of the government's aims to bring superfast broadband services to 90 per cent of the UK by spring 2015.

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