BT gets superfast Welsh broadband contract

By Peter Gothard
20 Jul 2012 View Comments

BT has won the contract to roll out superfast broadband throughout Wales, aiming to provide 96 per cent of the country with internet connections of up to 80Mbps, with some areas receiving speeds as high as 330Mbps.

Creating 50 new jobs and 100 apprenticeships, the project is being funded by £58m of Welsh government money, £57m of the UK government's Broadband Delivery UK scheme, and £90m from the European Regional Development Fund. The ERDF pledged £6 of funding for every £1 of Welsh investment.

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BT is also contributing a total of £220m to Welsh communications strategies, two-thirds of which the company says will be used exclusively for the broadband rollout.

"This is an incredibly important agreement for Wales," said the country's First Minister, Carwyn Jones.

"Our partnership with BT will see to it that Wales does more than simply catch up with our neighbours; we intend to catch up, overtake and then set the pace that others will strive to match.

"The project will transform the broadband landscape across Wales and ensure that local businesses can become global businesses. It will ensure that firms remain in Wales and it will also attract a more diverse range of high-growth, high-value companies to the country across all our key sectors, from tourism to high-end manufacturing."

In a statement, BT outlined how the plan for Wales includes giving smaller businesses access to "big business" applications such as cloud services, data centres, backup, storage and fast data processing.

High-quality videoconferencing, it says, will also become a "viable possibility" for all. It also hopes that fast fibre connections will improve Wales' presence in the online "entertainment services" industry.

According to Ofcom, more than 20 per cent of Welsh homes currently receive broadband connections of less than 2Mbps, so domestic consumers - or those working from home in an increasingly telecommuting business world - will also benefit from the scheme.

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