Wales is set to receive £56.9 million to help take broadband to everyone and superfast broadband to 90% of homes and businesses in the country, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt announced today.
Mr Hunt today revealed Wales’s share of the Government’s £530 million broadband investment fund.
Matching the investment will allow the Welsh Government to provide 90% of premises with access to superfast broadband and everyone with access to at least 2 Mbps.
The private sector on its own will take superfast broadband to around two-thirds of UK households and businesses. Public money is being used to help take broadband to the remaining one third by making it viable for business to invest.
The Welsh Government will decide how to use this money to support the roll-out of broadband across the country.
Mr Hunt said:
“Superfast broadband is essential if businesses are to grow and create new jobs. It is increasingly important for the way we deliver public services and to our everyday lives.
“But some areas of the UK are being left behind. Many rural and hard-to-reach communities do not have decent broadband access. We must ensure the whole country can join the digital age.
“We are investing £56.9 million to help take broadband to the whole of Wales. If the Welsh Government matches our investment, 90% of the country’s homes and businesses will have access to superfast broadband.
“If you suffer the frustration of slow internet connections, then tell your Welsh Assembly Member that you need broadband. Urge them to make this investment and ensure that Wales is not left behind.”
Each country’s funding allocation is based on the cost of taking superfast broadband to those premises that would not receive it from the market alone. It is not based on the number of people living or working in a country.
The Government wants the UK to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with 90% 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.
The Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan said:
“I am delighted with this announcement which, with the new money we are providing to electrify the rail line to south Wales, shows our commitment to ensuring that Wales has the infrastructure it needs to grow.
“Boosting economic growth in Wales is my number one priority. We will continue to work in partnership with the Welsh Government on the delivery of super-fast broadband across Wales.
“Last week’s Ofcom report into broadband provision highlighted the challenge facing us in Wales to ensure we improve provision for domestic and business users. Today’s announcement will ensure broadband take-up and speed can be significantly improved, benefitting individuals and businesses.”
Notes to Editors
Ofcom defines ‘superfast broadband’ as broadband with speeds greater than 24 Mbps.
In February, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced £10 million of funding for broadband in Pwllheli and surrounding areas of North Wales as part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s national delivery plan for all of Wales.
Pilot programmes to bring broadband to North Yorkshire, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Cumbria and the Herefordshire borders, were launched in October last year. They were followed by a second wave of projects covering Wiltshire, Norfolk and Devon & Somerset, which were announced in May.
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