Almost £57million funding from the UK Government for improving broadband across Wales will be warmly welcomed by some of our most rural communities, Wales Office Minister David Jones said today [12th July 2011].
As the Prime Minister brought the UK Cabinet to meet in Wales today, Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt announced a provision of an additional £47m over and above the £10m announced earlier this year. The funding is part of the Government’s drive to ensure the whole of the UK has the best broadband network in Europe by 2015.
The announcement follows yesterday’s launch of the Wales Office Rural Economy Taskforce Report, which concluded that broadband was one of the most pressing concerns of rural and agricultural communities in Wales today.
Mr. Jones said: “Today’s announcement will be warmly welcomed by rural and agricultural communities in Wales. The feedback we received for the Rural Economy Taskforce Report showed that local communities and businesses are becoming more and more reliant on effective broadband coverage.
“Reliable broadband not only supports key local services, it also opens up a world of opportunities for rural businesses, enabling them to compete on equal terms with counterparts around the globe. It is heartening to see the Welsh rural economy adapting and finding new ways of connecting with international customers. In the second decade of the 21st century broadband is no longer a luxury, it’s a vital business and social utility and this announcement will help ensure that businesses in even the most rural parts of Wales can continue to grow.”
Mr Jones was at Llety Cynin Farm in Carmarthenshire yesterday, to launch the Wales Office-led Economy Taskforce Report.
He said: “Evidence presented to me on broadband provision and speed in rural areas focused on slow and non-existent connections, with one third of farmers unable to access broadband at all.
“In February, the Chancellor and Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan announced a £10mn investment in superfast broadband for the Pwllheli area. Today’s announcement of a further £47mn will help the Government meet ourcommitment to ensure the whole of the UK has the best broadband network in Europe by 2015.”
The Government wants the UK to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with 90 per cent of homes and businesses in each local authority area having access to superfast broadband and for everyone in the UK to have access to at least 2Mbps.
A full version of the Wales Office’s Rural Economy Taskforce Report is available at the Wales Office website at www.walesoffice.gov.uk
For more information, please contact:
Gemma Treharne-Foose on 029 20 89 8619