BROADBAND issues on Anglesey were top of the agenda when Ynys M?n Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth hosted a visit from the Minister for Skills and Science. Julie James, the Welsh Government Minister responsible for broadband, to Anglesey was taken on a site visit to Mona Industrial Park and to a community in Llangoed so that she could have a snapshot of the current and potential problems faced by businesses, individuals and communities on the island. Prior to the visit, Rhun had invited constituents to share their experience of broadband and was able to collect the information together in a paper to present to the Minister.
“A fast data connection is not a ‘luxury’ these days. From education to tele-medicine, from business to leisure, our need for a broadband connection is an integral part of our everyday lives, and being rural should not be a reason for failing to get this connection.” He said. “Rural areas expect, and receive, water and electricity.
In the 21st century, we should have similar expectations in terms of data connectivity. Ynys M?n may be rural, but it’s not remote. “I would like to see a one-stop shop for practical help and support for those without an acceptable connection.
At the moment, if there are alternative solutions available, people often aren’t aware of what those solutions are, nor who to turn to to ask the question even, and it’s not obvious what help could be available.”
During the minister’s visit, Rhun was able to make the case for strengthening broadband for people in Anglesey and she has agreed to look at what can be done.
The pair also agreed that it would be a good idea for Rhun to host a Business Forum with the government’s connectivity team so that local businesses could find out what Welsh Government can do to help them
Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday (24/Feb) Ynys M n MP, Albert Owen stated it is in the long term interests of the UK to pursue and develop biomass technology as part of a balanced energy mix. Last month, Mr Owen launched the new proposed Orthios Eco Park project plant near Holyhead which will see 1,200 jobs in construction as well as over 500 permanent jobs across the skills range as well as apprenticeship opportunities once the site is operational. As a former member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Albert Owen described the auctioneering process as complicated and confusing with consequences that could lead to the UK losing out on investment if the rules are not simplified.
Albert Owen MP said:
In moving forward we as a nation need low-carbon energy and biomass is a forward thinking solution. Anglesey is a pioneering Island and is home to the first food & energy project/ biomass plant of its kind.
In relation to the debate on renewable energy, we need a level playing field for biomass or at the very least ensure this field is placed in a special category so the technology can be developed further.
What is needed is a truly consensual agreement on energy polices one that is not determined by new proposals and changes after 5 year election cycles. Having attended the Paris climate change conference I know there is concern within the international community that the UK Government is abandoning funding to renewable energy sources.
As is the case in my constituency biomass power plants are good for Britain and good for climate change.
Prime Minister David Cameron today gave a personal pledge to the people of Shropshire: We will connect you all to superfast broadband.
Mr Cameron announced a commitment to connect the entire county by the end of his term in power in 2020. Writing in the Shropshire Star, he said: Access to the internet is a necessity, like gas, electricity and water. But for too long, too many people in Shropshire have been denied it. Today, that changes. The Star last month revealed the campaign to roll out superfast broadband to all of Shropshire has completed two thirds of its initial phase of work.
Connecting Shropshire, a stand-alone organisation set up to deliver fast internet, says it has connected 40,000 homes and businesses so far and hopes to soon connect another 20,000. But the organisation, set up by Shropshire Council, BT and the government s BDUK campaign, admits there will be many gaps left in the county, even after it completes its current work in 2018.
Today Mr Cameron outlined plans for a universal service obligation for broadband, putting it on a similar footing as other basic services like water and electricity. He said: Access to the internet shouldn t be a luxury; it should be a right absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain.
Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. Since the beginning of the last parliament, the number of UK homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband has increased from 45 per cent to more than 83 per cent. The figure should reach 95 per cent by 2017 and the final five per cent should be connected by 2020. The Prime Minister said: This ambition means that any household or business has the right to request fast internet access and, unless it s especially expensive to set up, they will get it.
“Access to the internet is a necessity, like gas, electricity and water. But for too long, too many people in Shropshire have been denied it.
Today, that changes. I m announcing a major step in my digital mission for Britain: a pledge to get Britain all of Britain online, and connected to fast broadband. Since we came to office in 2010, the number of households with access to superfast broadband has increased from 45 per cent to 83 per cent. We re on track to reach 95 per cent of homes by 2017 a key part of my long-term economic plan to bring more jobs, skills, growth and opportunities to the people of this country.
Today I m talking about how we ll finish the job how we ll make sure the hardest to reach, most remote areas have fast broadband access, too. A big part of the answer is a Universal Service Obligation, just like we have for other essential services, for the post and for telephone lines. This ambition means that any household or business has the right to request fast internet access and, unless it s especially expensive to set up, they will get it. Why is this so important? Because, like the coming of the railways in the 19th century and the expansion of the telephone network in the 20th century, the internet is this century s engine of progress. Britain is already the most digitised major country in Europe the best for broadband coverage, take-up, use, choice and price.
You can stream Netflix on the Norfolk Broads; download iTunes on the Isles of Scilly; Skype in Stornoway; browse Amazon on Anglesey. But in Shropshire many simply cannot access effective broadband. I am determined to make sure everyone is able to do these things. And for good reason. Just think of all the jobs that can be created here if businesses are able to set up anywhere; all the tourists and visitors that would be attracted to this great county if it has the facilities they need; all the families that would move here and boost the economy.
Quite simply, universal service is vital to the future of Shropshire, where there has been a concerted campaign for better broadband. After the election in May, I stood on the steps of Downing Street and promised we would govern for One Nation for every part of Britain. That means delivering the jobs people need, the skills that will help them succeed, the sound economy that gives them security, and the infrastructure like broadband security © which is so fundamental to life in the 21st century.
That s what today s announcement is all about: ensuring everyone, whoever they are, wherever they are, can get online, and get on in life.”