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Belfast, London, Cardiff all eyeing up further government Wi-Fi money

Having already scored a £6 million central government hand out to improve broadband coverage, Belfast City Council is now trying to position itself for a further £7.7 million dosh packet to help roll out free Wi-Fi across the Northern Irish capital.

Britain's Department for Culture, Media, and Sport has already doled out cash to ten UK cities in the name of improved connectivity, with the potential for more money to leave the government's coffers if the cities are able to argue convincingly that they will spend the money wisely.

Belfast Council proposes to "provide 100 per cent broadband coverage across the city and provide a Wi-Fi infrastructure within the city centre and at transport hubs, conference venues, and other key locations," by 2015 as part of its drive to put its troubled past to bed and reinvent itself a centre of business and commerce.

The additional government payday is a key part of the plan, though the Council does say it is also planning to sink £3 million of its own money into the project as well. Wi-Fi connectivity is merely one part of the city's overriding technology agenda - the Council also say they want to invest in education and training.

The other nine cities involved in the project are also making plans to get their hands on some additional funding. Manchester is excluded from the deal, having already received a flat £12 million investment, but Cardiff is potentially in line for a further £5 if it can put forth a convincing argument.

London's existing £10 million investment could balloon by a further £15 million, leaving the capital with a total of £25 million of government money to invest in its technological infrastructure, which was boosted recently by the arrival of Virgin Media Wi-Fi at its Tube stations.

The government is under increasing pressure to up Britain's technological prowess amid fears that it is falling behind its international rivals.