The chancellor said £100m in extra funds will be made available to ensure the UK is not left behind by rapidly developing countries like Brazil and China. London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh will be included in the plans to create a fibre broadband network with speeds of between 80Mbps and 100Mbps, with another six cities competing for the remaining places.
The UK currently lags behind with broadband speeds of just 6.8Mbps. The plans also include creating a nationwide superfast mobile broadband network.
Osborne said: “See what countries like China or Brazil are building, and you’ll also see why we risk falling behind the rest of the world.
“Our great cities are at the heart of our regional economies. And we will help bring world leading, superfast broadband and wi-fi connections to 10 of them – including the capitals of all four nations.”
The announcement seems to represent a change of emphasis in the government’s digital plan, with broadband provision for the “final third” of the country – mostly rural areas – previously taking priority.