Welsh government identifies areas in need of broadband intervention

Thursday, January 26th 2012
Welsh communities excluded from private sector super-fast broadband rollouts are set to benefit from state funding.
Welsh government identifies areas in need of broadband intervention
The Welsh government has identified locations across the country where it intends to subsidise the rollout of next-generation broadband with speeds of at least 30Mbps.

By 2015, the administration is aiming to deliver faster broadband to all homes and businesses across Wales and is prepared to intervene to ensure communities that are not considered commercially viable by private sector providers do not miss out.

No next-generation broadband operator currently offers services across large swathes of the country, with only parts of south and north-east Wales covered by two or more providers.

The government has published a series of maps detailing current levels of service and is now inviting responses from the private sector to give policymakers an indication of areas where investment in super-fast broadband networks has already happened, or is planned in the next three years.

Comments must be submitted by February 23rd 2012 and will be used by Welsh ministers to determine where the rollout of the next-generation broadband network should be concentrated.

Business Minister Edwina Hart said the review intends to ensure the government's intervention takes full account of any deployments planned by the private sector.

"We want to make sure that the Welsh government intervenes in a way that best maximises our investment," she explained. "We have made a firm commitment in our programme for government to provide access to next-generation broadband by 2015 and this investment in a first-class, globally-competitive digital infrastructure will ensure that Wales is at the forefront of the digital economy."

The availability of "robust" high-speed broadband is now essential for consumers and businesses, Ms Hart added.

Last July, the UK government allocated £56.9 million of investment in Welsh broadband services, leaving its Welsh counterparts to decide on the best way to spend this money.

The funding is in addition to a £10 million package to improve broadband speeds in Pwllheli and surrounding areas of north Wales, announced by Chancellor George Osborne last February.

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