By Daniel Hunter

The government has pledged £114m towards its stated aim to make the UK the fastest place in Europe by 2015 in terms of broadband. It has been revealed how this funding is to be divided up between the UK’s top cities.

The money is to be used to build city-wide networks, offering homes and businesses speeds of up to 100Mbps. London will receive the largest chunk of £25m, followed by Leeds and Bradford, who will receive £14.4m between them. Belfast, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Newcastle will each receive substantial payments, and a further £50m is to be awarded to ten smaller cities.

Award-winning UK tech entrepreneur Dan Wagner, who has built four global multi-million pound tech companies and recently launched a new service which is empowering companies to take payments for their services on mobile phones, said: “Anything that helps set the right conditions for UK entrepreneurs to start new tech businesses is to be welcomed. The UK is a hotbed of entrepreneurial spirit, but I know from my own experience that this is simply not enough to succeed. Much more could be done to help budding entrepreneurs and start up businesses, in particular in the tech field.

“The UK tech sector has huge potential to lead us out of recession and back into growth, generating income for entrepreneurs and their staff and tax revenue. A flourishing tech sector will have an enormous knock-on effect on the supply chain and the economy generally. We could be tech world leaders, yet so many viable businesses fail to get beyond the initial stages.

Dan’s latest innovation is a mobile phone app and a card reader, allowing everyone anywhere, from mobile sales forces to the small sole trader to take payments securely and on the go, with no need for a clunky device and without paying hundreds of pounds in monthly fees. mPowa uses either a magnetic stripe reader (MSR) or a Chip & PIN device, which means it can be used across the world in all countries, and with all handsets or devices and all operating systems - iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows or Blackberry.

As someone who has based his businesses on connectivity, Dan commented: “Fast broadband is certainly an excellent basis on which to roll out new ventures with the widest possible reach, and also has the potential to help increase e-commerce, and economic activity generally. However there is far more we could do to help tech businesses in the UK to grow and prosper, from changes to the tax system, to release start-up capital, to a whole host of other possible measures.”

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