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Wales UK Replace Broadband Support Scheme with Similar Alternative

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 (10:49 am) - Score 1,666

The Welsh Government has announced that its £4 million Broadband Support Scheme (BSS), which offered grants of up to £1,000 to help those living in rural parts of Wales where broadband connectivity remains poor (i.e. sub-2Mbps speeds), is to be replaced by an almost identical alternative.

The new scheme, called Access Broadband Cymru (ABC), is expected to be introduced from 1st October 2013 and includes more than a passing similarity to the old setup. For example, it will also provide grants of up to £1,000 per premise in areas which have “slow broadband connections” (i.e. consistently sub-2Mbps downloads).

The key difference appears to be that ABC is designed to complement the wider Superfast Cymru project and will thus only be usable in areas where BT/BDUK’s fibre broadband (FTTC/P) rollout won’t cover or where no date has been published for improved connectivity.

As a quick reminder, the Superfast Cymru project aims to make BT’s fibre optic based broadband (FTTC/P) network available to 96% of Welsh premises by the end of spring 2016. As a result ABC is expected to focus on the last 4%.

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, said:

While Superfast Cymru continues to make excellent progress in connecting Wales’ homes and businesses, we want to ensure that all of our communities are able to enjoy the benefits of improved connectivity.

That’s why we’re introducing this grant scheme and, in doing so, providing essential support to individuals, businesses, third sector organisations and communities who are struggling with slow broadband speeds.

A grant of up to £1,000 per premise really will make that difference and open the door to so many opportunities that just aren’t available if you don’t have a good quality, fast broadband connection.”

The Welsh Government states that its new scheme will be open until 31st March 2016, which roughly aligns with the expected completion for Superfast Cymru, and that those seeking to apply for it can find out more information by going here: http://www.wales.gov.uk/broadband. At the time of writing that website address didn’t appear to exist and so we’re unable to investigate the details.

Most people used the older BSS scheme to help cover the setup/installation cost of a new satellite or wireless broadband service.

UPDATE 4:23pm

It looks like the original URL they released was wrong and the correct one has now been added in above.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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