29th September 2015
by Shannon Greenhalgh
The Welsh Government has developed a 12.5 million project to help small and medium-sized businesses make the most of Wales’ superfast broadband. The new scheme is being funded by the Welsh Government, European Regional Development Fund (which contributed 7 million) and local authorities, reports Cable.co.uk1. In Wales, almost eight in ten premises (79%) have access to superfast broadband, with schemes such as Access Broadband Cymru predicted to increase this percentage to 100% by next year.
Delivered from 2015 to 2020, the scheme will build on projects in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Gwynedd, Blaneau Gwent and Swansea. According to Julie James, deputy minister for skills and technology, “To reap the maximum economic benefit from this investment it is simply not enough for businesses to take up superfast broadband. To take full advantage of the superfast-enabled technologies businesses need to use them to change and improve the way they work.”
The 12.5 million project will give businesses access to advice and support through Business Wales, clinics, workshops and one-on-one training. As well as this, it will keep track of the adoption rates of superfast broadband by Welsh companies, offering training and certification for business advisors. There will also be appointed “Champions” in each local authority.
Their role will be to “lead engagement with their authority and local business community”.
Finance Minister Jane Hutt has described the Welsh Government as “pro-business”, and believes that the scheme will maximise economic benefits, both for individual businesses and Wales as a whole.