Next stage of superfast broadband rollout in Wales announced
THE next stage of the introduction of superfast broadband in Wales has been announced. Openreach has been working on making superfast broadband available to homes and businesses in Wales since 2013 through the Superfast Cymru project. And the latest Ofcom figures have shown Wales now has the highest availability of superfast broadband over 30mbps amongst the devolved nations.
And now the Welsh Government has announced the next stage of the scheme, specifically targeted at connecting rural areas and introducing speeds of up to 100mbps. There are 88,000 homes and businesses across Wales which have been identified as not having access to superfast broadband. Under the previous contract, which ended at the end of last month, Openreach was required to connect 690,000 homes and businesses, and the company has said it expects to meet this target, with full figures to be announced in the spring.
And, following reports of unexplained delays to connections, the company has also agreed to continue work for an extra two months connecting an additional 2,500 buildings at no extra cost to Welsh taxpayers. It has also been asked to provide details of structures built but not completed. Speaking in the Assembly earlier today, leader of the house Julie James said: “Through Superfast Cymru, we have fundamentally altered the broadband landscape in Wales, bringing superfast broadband to areas of Wales that simply would not have been connected.
“Since the project began in 2013, the availability of superfast broadband across Wales has more than doubled thanks directly to this project and to our investment.” But she added: “There is clearly more work to be done. “My own postbag continues to swell with letters from individuals, communities and businesses frustrated by the absence of high-speed broadband where they live or work.
“This government shares that frustration and is committed to taking further action to addressing those broadband issues.”
The contract is expected to be awarded by the start of the summer, with work to begin shortly afterwards.