Newcastle was catapulted into the Premier League of broadband speeds today as part of a national initiative announced in today’s budget. Newcastle has been successful in becoming one of 10 Super-Connected Cities for fixed and wireless broadband in securing up to £6m which will attract investment to the city, revolutionise access to information and help transform the North East’s economy. The city council’s proposal for an Accelerated Development Zone – if approved by Government – will bring the total amount invested in the ultrafast broadband project to £12m. It means Newcastle will have among the fastest broadband speeds of any major city in Europe, helping businesses reach new markets and products, and residents access a wider choice of cheaper services. A world class communications network will help the jobless access skills and training, and create new employment opportunities. Leader of Newcastle City Council, Coun Nick Forbes, said: “The city council has worked very hard on this bid and I am delighted that we have been successful in bringing ultrafast broadband to Newcastle. “Ultrafast broadband will be part of the city’s lifeblood, changing the way that we do business, how we access public services and consume the information daily. “It will open up new opportunities for people who have been excluded and help create the next generation of jobs, especially for our young people, which is vital for us to compete nationally and internationally. “Ultrafast broadband which allows data to be transferred in the blink of an eye is one of the key attractions for any company looking to invest in the city, so I am delighted the Government has shown us this vote of confidence. “This really will change the lives of many of Newcastle's residents, positively improving their employment prospects, and their well being and quality of life. “It is vitally important that we now get on getting this up and running as quickly as possible so we can attract firms to the region and build on our success.” The network enhancements will be up and running by 2015 and take in the city centre, the Ouseburn, both Universities, the RVI Hospital, centres for research, cultural attractions and sites for new businesses at Central Station, East Pilgrim Street, Stephenson Quarter and Science Central. A network of signage across the city will also be installed along with a landing page featuring useful information.