An extra £12million of Government money for superfast broadband will help business start-ups and job creation in some of Wales’s hardest to reach rural areas, Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, announced today.
The nationwide rollout is a key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future by providing better access to superfast broadband, and in allocating funding the Government has worked to ensure as many families and businesses as possible benefit.
More than 100,000 Welsh homes and businesses can now get access to superfast speeds as a result of the UK Government’s roll-out of superfast broadband.
The UK Government has already invested £57 million pounds in the Superfast Cymru project which is on track to deliver superfast broadband to 96% of homes and businesses in Wales by spring 2016.
Local projects in Wales will now receive an additional £12million of funding, with the hardest to reach locations amongst those who stand to benefit most.
The current rural programme will deliver returns of £20 for every £1 invested, representing tremendous value for money. As well as improvements in the productivity of broadband- firms, faster broadband will create an additional 56,000 jobs in the UK by 2024, and the work involved in the current roll out is expected to provide a £1.5 billion boost to local economies, with approximately 35,000 job-years created or safeguarded over the period to 2016. By 2024, the Government’s current investments in faster broadband will be boosting rural economies by £275m every month or around £9m every day.
Over 10,000 homes and businesses UK wide are now gaining access each week, with this figure expected to reach 40,000 per week by summer this year. There are strong economic growth and efficiency reasons why local authorities should contribute towards to the cost of rolling out superfast broadband, and the additional funding will be awarded on a match funding basis.
Superfast broadband allows families to use multiple devices simultaneously, so while parents are streaming a movie or their favourite television programme, the kids can be uploading photos and videos to social media sites whilst downloading the latest track from their favourite artist. Businesses also stand to benefit hugely from the roll out, which will facilitate video conferencing, boost processing power and increasing productivity.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:
Superfast Broadband will benefit everyone in Wales - whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films. Thousands of homes and businesses now have access and it is helping people with their everyday tasks. We want to make sure that Britain is one of the best countries in the world for broadband, and the extra money we are investing will help ensure communities around the UK are not left behind in the digital slow lane.
Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:
Today’s announcement is a clear indication of the commitment of the UK Government to the Superfast Broadband project across Wales and the United Kingdom as a whole. The Culture Secretary and I have had regular discussions on this issue, and I am pleased that Wales will be receiving an additional £12million. Over 100,000 premises in Wales have already benefited from superfast broadband rollout thanks to the £57million already invested by the UK Government, and I am delighted that this further investment will see that number grow substantially.
Wales Office Minister with portfolio responsibility for broadband, Stephen Crabb said:
The Superfast Broadband project is a prime example of how UK Government investment can be combined with other funding to deliver for the people of Wales. By having access to superfast broadband, businesses can expand, develop new markets and create the jobs we need. From our rural heartlands to our urban city centres, this Government is ensuring the people of Wales have a broadband network fit for the digital age.
There are strong economic growth and efficiency reasons why local authorities should contribute towards to the cost of rolling out superfast broadband, and the additional £12m will be awarded on a match funding basis. The current rural programme will deliver returns of £20 for every £1 invested, representing tremendous value for money.
Government also recently committed £10m to look at ways to reach those areas in the “final 5 per cent”. Potential technologies that could be piloted under this fund include:
- Using 4G mobile signal to deliver ‘fixed wireless’ superfast broadband’.
- Using fibre direct to premises.
- Taking fibre from broadband cabinets to a distribution point further down the network, increasing speeds by reducing the reliance on copper.
- Satellite technology.
The fund will open on 17 March 2014 and we are asking local authorities to offer support to these pilot projects.
Notes to Editors
Together with the money previously allocated to Wales under Broadband Delivery UK’s Rural Broadband programme this adds up to an investment of £69.04m.
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
- £790m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
- £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
- £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.