Funding to extend superfast broadband to Pwllheli and the surrounding areas shows the Government’s commitment that Wales is at the heart of plans for the UK to have the best superfast network in Europe by 2015, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said today.
Mrs Gillan was accompanying Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on a visit to North Wales when he announced that £10 million of funding will be allocated to support the early phases of superfast broadband in Wales.
The funding will help to deliver the roll out of Next Generation Broadband in Pwllheli and surrounding areas as part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s national delivery plan for all of Wales.
Welcoming the announcement, Mrs Gillan said: ”Today’s announcement shows this Government’s commitment that Wales is at the heart of our plans to ensure that UK has the best superfast network in Europe by 2015. For this to work we need to test innovative approaches that bring broadband to hard-to-reach areas and today’s announcement of funding to extend superfast broadband to Pwllheli and the surrounding areas of North Wales will do just that.
“We are committed to working closely with the Welsh Assembly Government to delivering this project in north west Wales.”
“The UK Broadband Strategy is an ambitious programme for the whole of the UK. As Secretary of State for Wales I have been keen that we learn the lessons from broadband rollout in one of the more rural areas in Wales. I am therefore particularly pleased that one of the earliest pilot projects to be chosen across the UK is in Wales.”
“The contribution that broadband makes to the wider economy is vital and has already been highlighted by the Wales Office Business Advisory Group. This pilot project shows our commitment to economic development in Wales through investment in the infrastructure of tomorrow”.
The new funding was announced while the Welsh Secretary and Chancellor visited a JCB factory in Wrexham. While there JCB also announced that it was signing a new contract for 350 vehicles with a UK business and that it was creating and recruiting for over 80 new engineering positions within JCB nationally.
The Chancellor said: “Having seen the potential growth opportunities in Wrexham today I am pleased to announce £10 million additional funding for Wales that will support the extension of superfast broadband to Pwllheli and the surrounding areas. This funding will support the Welsh economy and help drive the private sector-led recovery by driving innovation and commercial opportunities in communities across Wales.
“This is just the first wave of funding for Wales from the over half a billion pounds we have already set aside to extend superfast broadband across the UK”.
The Secretary of State added: “It is good to see that JCB is once again recruiting and has signed a big new contract today for 350 vehicles. I know the company had a difficult time as many businesses did during the recession so it is good to see that things are improving here.”
Wales Office minister, David Jones, MP for Clwyd West said: “As a North Wales MP, I know how much the announcement will be welcomed in the region. North Wales has a large number of “not spots”, where it is impossible to get decent broadband coverage.
“Broadband is vital to farmers and others living and working in the rural areas. The lessons learned from the Pwllheli scheme will hasten the roll-out of superfast broadband throughout North Wales.”