Welsh govt defends broadband track record

Tuesday, June 28th 2011
The administration has claimed it has made "strong" progress towards improving the country's broadband infrastructure.
Welsh govt defends broadband track record
The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has moved to defend itself against claims the country's super-fast broadband plans are lagging behind other UK nations.

According to the Western Mail, Cornwall - the poorest county in England - is thought to be around a year ahead of Wales with regards to its broadband programme, while Northern Ireland is also significantly in front.

An agreement between BT and Cornwall Council is set to connect as many as 90 per cent of homes and businesses in the south-west county by 2014, with the rollout strategy set to be implemented from a business park near Redruth.

In contrast, the European Union-funded contract to deploy high-speed broadband across Wales has still not been put out to tender, despite former economy minister Ieuan Wyn Jones previously claiming the procurement process would get underway this spring.

However, a spokeswoman for the WAG defended the administration's progress on broadband and said work is already underway to bring faster internet access to every property in the country by 2015.

"The Welsh government has a strong track record of investing to increase the availability and take-up of broadband in Wales," the source said.

"Our Broadband Support Scheme (BSS) is addressing basic connectivity issues for individuals and entire communities."

Last October, the WAG announced the BSS had received 265 applications in the three months since its launch, with the successful bidders being allocated initial funding of approximately £2 million.

Among the areas to have benefited from the initiative is the village of Treleddyd Fawr, near St Davids in Pembrokeshire, which was the first community application to be approved by the government.

With maximum funding of £1,000 available to improve broadband services at each individual property, 20 residents in Treleddyd Fawr lodged a joint bid and received £20,000 in state financial support.

Local company TFL will use the money to install a wireless broadband network capable of offering speeds of between 2 and 5Mbps. 

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