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Welsh MP Warns that Wales Must Fight UK Government for Superfast Broadband

Posted: 21st Dec, 2010 By: MarkJ
wales uk broadband mapThe Shadow Business Minister and MP for Wrexham, Ian Lucas, has attacked the central UK coalition government for not specifically allocating any money to help homes and businesses in Wales get super-fast broadband ISP connections.

At present the UK government is known to have set aside £530m until 2015 (potentially rising to £830m by 2017) to help get everybody connected to a basic (2Mbps) broadband service and bring superfast (Next Generation Access) solutions to most remote and rural communities.

However, despite the initially positive outlook given by the new 'Britain's Superfast Broadband Future' strategy earlier this month, Wales has so far not seen any activity except for a weak promise of access extending over the border from England's Herefordshire pilot (here).

MP Ian Lucas said (NewsWales):

"The licence fee is paid by taxpayers in Wales in exactly the same way as it is across the UK, yet the Government has not guaranteed any money for Wales.

This would be less of a concern if there had not already been controversy over the way the Government handled the first round of bids for pilot projects. When Ministers effectively say Wales has to wait for the scraps from a project across the border, it does not inspire confidence.

It is vital that Wales exerts as much pressure on the Government as possible to make sure it gets its fair share."

Lucas's attack follows almost a week after the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) launched a wide ranging new strategy for the region ('Digital Wales') that seeks to bring super-fast Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband to all businesses by the middle of 2016, with access for households by 2020 (here).

In fairness the UK government has already said that it will allocate money based on specific projects and not nations or regions, which applies to England and Scotland just as much as it does to Wales. Ideally all affected communities of the UK should be pro active and make sure that they have a plan for their respective areas to present.
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