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Welsh MP Raises Concerns over UK Superfast Broadband Pilot Selection Process

Posted: 12th Nov, 2010 By: MarkJ
wales map broadband ukThe MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (North Wales) and Plaid Cymru's leader in Westminster, Elfyn Llwyd, has retaliated after the UK coalition government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) rubbished one of the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) proposals for a "super-fast" broadband pilot in the region.

Last week's leaked DCMS notice (here) said, "there was more text in one answer box in the Herefordshire proposal than in the entire Welsh proposal," before proceeding to warn about the damage it could do to local competition and some difficulty with replicating the service.

Mr Llwyd said (quote from NewsonNews):

"I wanted to know on what grounds the Llyn Peninsula had been refused funding for a super-fast broadband pilot, an investment of between £5million and £10million, which would have made a massive difference to the infrastructure of the area.

I was told by the department of Business, Innovation and Skills that Llyn had failed to meet the necessary criteria - but when I probed deeper they admitted to me that they hadn’t actually carried out any sort of proper assessment.

What sort of organisation makes its decisions not on evidence and hard fact but on guesswork and subjective assumptions? The department hasn’t even bothered to speak to the Minister in Wales about why the Llyn Peninsula would have made an excellent choice.

The UK Government likes talking about investments in internet infrastructure, but when asked, they have no idea how many households will benefit."

Historically many politicians have often appeared to use "guesswork and subjective assumptions" in their proposals, which won't come as much of a shock to anyone. However, Llwyd does raise an important point about the government's selection process, or lack thereof.

As it stands Wales, which like Scotland has a significantly large base of geographically isolated rural communities, will not be taking part in any of the governments four "super-fast" broadband pilots. They might benefit from the Herefordshire trial but nobody seems too sure about that.
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