Broadband plans announced for Digital Wales

By Derek du Preez
10 Dec 2010 View Comments
Swansea Sail Bridge

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has said it will provide superfast broadband to all businesses by 2016 - in a report entitled Delivering a Digital Wales.

The report also sets down aims to access all households by 2020.

Further reading

This announcement comes days after the UK government set out its plans for rolling out next generation broadband, which will see £830m of public money set aside to ensure most rural areas will have access to the internet by 2015.

Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones, outlined the importance of broadband access for Wales when the report was released.

"The UK Government's announcement earlier this week of superfast hubs is a useful step towards fulfilling our own objectives - to ensure Next Generation broadband for all business by 2016, with access for households by 2020, ahead of EU targets," he said.

"The growth of our economy and the well-being of our citizens are now inexorably linked to advances in technology. We must be prepared to respond quickly to new opportunities and challenges that rapid technological change will continue to bring," he added.

"In the decade to 2007, the value of ICT in Wales grew as much as 84 per cent - it is now £1.2bn with the potential for as much again".

Jones also said that at the moment a third of the population in Wales does not use the internet, less than 40 per cent of Welsh SMEs actually sell on-line, and less than a quarter of the population currently use online public services.

The report indicates the importance of public funding to the project, which has also been outlined in the UK strategy. It describes:

"Additional research placed the Wales population coverage figures at around 35 per cent and so it is reasonable to conclude that large swathes of rural Wales will only see rapid, early deployment of new digital next generation infrastructure with some form of public sector intervention.

"Wales is not alone or unique in this regard - this is an issue facing regions across Europe and beyond.

"Where government investment is required to enable the private sector to roll out a next generation broadband infrastructure, we will ensure that this investment causes a significant change to the underlying infrastructure in order avoid the need for repeat investment at a later date."

Wales plans to ensure that the infrastructure being implemented will be capable of services at least 30Mbps, and ideally 100Mbps.


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