Alun Cairns: This Government was not prepared to let Wales get left behind in the digital age
- Government superfast broadband rollout reaches more than 3.5 million UK homes and businesses
- Almost nine out ten UK homes now able to get superfast speeds, up from 0% in 2009
- Every home and business in the UK now guaranteed speeds of at least 2Mbps
- UK broadband rollout the fastest of its kind anywhere in the world
More than 500,000 homes and businesses in Wales have been helped by the Government’s rollout of superfast broadband figures published today (Sunday 27 December 2015) reveal.
Thanks to the work already completed by the Government’s broadband delivery arm (BDUK) and the commercial sector, almost nine out of ten UK homes and businesses now have access to superfast speeds. The rollout – the fastest one of its kind anywhere in the world - is currently expected to pass the 4 million milestone in Spring 2016.
The rollout is delivering superfast access - Internet speeds greater than 24 Mbps - to those properties not covered by existing commercial networks and is on track to take superfast access to 95 per cent of the UK by December 2017.
Almost 3000 businesses in Wales have had their broadband speed boosted via the connection voucher scheme.
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:
Our rollout of superfast broadband is one of the biggest and most challenging infrastructure projects undertaken by Government in recent times. We need to keep the UK moving with the demands of the digital age, and our tremendous progress throughout 2015 has equipped businesses with the tools they need to grow, and homes with the technology to be part of our online global community.
Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns said:
This Government was not prepared to let Wales get left behind in the digital age. These figures show just how far we’ve come in bringing faster, more reliable broadband to communities across the country.
From our rural heartlands, to our urban city centres, this Government’s investment is helping to put Wales at the centre of the digital stage, competing for jobs and inward investment.
The last year has seen the dramatic transformation of the UK’s digital landscape continue as a number of Government initiatives have provided a welcome boost to connectivity in hamlets, villages, towns and cities around the UK.
In addition to those communities now enjoying superfast speeds as a result of the rollout:
Around 55,000 small businesses in 50 cities across the UK were issued with a broadband connection voucher. Businesses benefitting from the scheme are reporting, on average,a £1,300 per year increase in profits, with a new job being created for every four new connections.
Government has also launched a new scheme aimed at providing immediate assistance to those communities in the hardest to reach places who suffer from the slowest speeds.Every home and business in the UK is now guaranteed a minimum broadband connection speed of at least 2Mbs following the successful implementation of a subsidised satellite offer.
Government has now begun work on introducing a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) with the ambition to give people the legal right to request a connection to broadband with speeds of 10 Mbps, no matter where they live.
Notes to Editors
Broadband in the UK is top of the five largest European economies for broadband coverage, take up, use, choice and price.
The broadband connection voucher initiative gave businesses the chance to apply for grants of up to £3,000 each to cover the costs of installing faster and better broadband.
For every £1 the UK Government invested in the broadband connection voucher scheme, more than £5 will be returned to the UK economy.
An estimated 300,000 properties across the UK will be able to make use of the new satellite offer.
A USO will provide a ‘safety net’ to make sure that households and businesses can get the broadband speeds needed to do business online, access key services or stream live TV. It can be upgraded over time as technology and demand evolve. The government will be consulting on this in early 2016.