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Policy Steering Welsh MP Mark Williams Seeks 100 Percent UK Broadband Cover

Posted: 19th Sep, 2011 By: MarkJ
ukliberal democrat uk partyThe Liberal Democrat MP for Ceredigion (Wales, UK) and Co-Chair of their Parliamentary Policy Committee for constitutional and political reform, Mark Williams, will today use his speech at the party's autumn conference in Birmingham as a platform to demand that the UK government put more money into making 100% UK coverage of broadband ISP services a reality.

At present the UK government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office already aims to bring superfast broadband (25Mbps+) access to 90% of "people in each local authority area" by 2015, while the last 10% will get at least a 2Mbps connection through their new Universal Service Commitment (USC). Critics feel that this vision is not bold enough.

Mr Williams explained (Wales Online):

"The Government has made a welcome financial commitment to securing rural broadband, which is essential for individuals and businesses in remote communities.

Realistically more investment will be needed to make comprehensive coverage a reality, but it is crucial that all parties come together to find the best solutions for the provision of broadband in rural areas, whether that is through small-scale community scheme or larger infrastructure projects."

The UK government's current tender for a new national framework agreement to help achieve its goals suggests that, through match-funding, the project could be worth up to a maximum of £2bn (here). It's unclear whether additional EU funding has been factored into its estimates.

Meanwhile BDUK has already allocated the vast majority of its initial £530m budget (until 2015), although this could rise to £830m by 2017 if needed. Sadly Williams has not detailed precisely what he would like to see done differently or how much extra would actually be needed.
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