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Economist backs broadband funding to improve Welsh finances

Friday, June 24th 2011
More money should be invested in Welsh broadband services to boost the economy, according to Professor Brian Morgan.
Economist backs broadband funding to improve Welsh finances
Investment in Welsh broadband services and information and communications technology (ICT) is needed to get the country's economy back on track, a leading economist has insisted.

Speaking at a Lloyds Banking Group event in Cardiff, Professor Brian Morgan - director of the Creative Leadership and Enterprise Centre, Cardiff School of Management - said levels of borrowing are set to swamp Welsh finances in the coming years.

According to the Western Mail, Mr Morgan believes the national debt will be more than 100 per cent of the nation's gross domestic product by 2015 unless measures are taken to stimulate the economy and encourage consumer spending.

Certain areas of the Welsh market are well positioned to deliver this growth, Professor Morgan claimed, but more funding is required if the benefits are to be felt.

"Investment in IT industries and broadband is badly needed, as it is in carbon and renewable industries with a green investment bank crucial to regeneration," he stated.

"There must be investment in transport infrastructure with an infrastructure investment bank set up. And there must be provision made for better, faster planning applications and greater investment in skills."

Professor Morgan went on to state the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) must overlook its "perennial interest in vote-winning policies" and instead focus on creating and implementing a "robust strategy" to deliver economic growth.

His comments come shortly after Netserve and Opal IT Services announced the launch of a wireless broadband network in the north Wales community of Rhiwlas, with the project taking advantage of funding from the WAG.

As a result of the initiative, more than 70 households in the village - located in the foothills of Snowdonia - now have access to a reliable connection offering speeds of up to 2Mbps.

Phil Roberts, Opal boss and a local resident, revealed he had considered lobbying BT to carry out the work, but had been impressed with Netserve's proposition.

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