Thursday, October 25, 2018

Welsh govt boosts superfast broadband investment to fill coverage gaps

The Welsh government has announced its latest plans to improve the coverage of superfast broadband across the country, with an extra £13 million of funding to be made available to extend the programme to areas that have so far missed out.

More than nine out of ten properties across Wales now have access to superfast speeds, defined by the government as offering download capabilities of at least 30Mbps. This compares with around half of homes and businesses at the start of the Superfast Cymru initiative.

However, while some 733,000 premises have been connected to faster services as a result of the programme, some gaps in coverage remain. This is what the latest updates to the programme are attempting to address, and will see an additional 16,000 homes and businesses connected to superfast broadband by 2021.

Work to achieve this will be carried out by Openreach and focus on regions in north Wales, the south-west and the Valleys.

Leader of the House in the Welsh Assembly with responsibility for digital Julie James said that the broadband market in Wales has changed hugely over the last five years, with the Superfast Cymru scheme transforming the digital landscape and allowing the vast majority of people to access high-speed services.

"But there is more to do to reach the remaining premises," she added, "Given the scale of the task in providing fast reliable broadband to those premises currently unable to access it we are going to need a range of interventions in future. There is no one size fits all solution."

As well as the publicly-funded rollout with Openreach, this will include support for voucher schemes and community-based projects, with Ms James noting that for many locations, community schemes will be the best option for improving broadband speeds.  

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