A second wave of UK "super-connected cities" is to be created thanks to a multimillion-euro investment in ultrafast broadband.
Announced in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement on Wednesday, the funding aims to provide high-tech and digital companies with the infrastructure they need to compete for business, investment and jobs with the top digital cities around the world.
The UK is currently well on the way to achieving the European Union's ambitious aim of making sure that all its citizens can get access to superfast broadband at home, if they choose, by 2020.
A new study by broadband specialists Point Topic shows that 58 percent of British homes can subscribe to superfast broadband services delivering at least 30Mbps of bandwidth, which is well above the European average.
In fact, the UK is second only to Germany in the size of its superfast footprint, with 15.5 million homes passed - almost 15 percent of the total in the EU.
Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Oxford, Portsmouth, Salford, and York in England; Aberdeen and Perth in Scotland; Newport in Wales; and Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland are the 12 cities set to be fast-tracked in the scheme.
Each will be given access to part of the €62 million super-connected city fund, providing homes and businesses with ultrafast broadband (at least 80-100Mbps) and high speed wireless Internet access.
The Point Topic study, called Broadband Coverage in Europe in 2011, revealed that every home in the UK can now receive basic broadband, with speeds of at least 144kbps (kilobits per second), if they want to.
Out of the 29 countries investigated, which included all 27 EU members plus Norway and Iceland, 96 percent can already get basic broadband and over 50 percent can get superfast speeds.