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Plans for next stage of rollout move ahead – building on Superfast Cymru success
Businesses, homes and communities have an opportunity to take part in a consultation on the next stage of fast broadband rollout in Wales, Minister for Skills and Science Julie James said yesterday.
The consultation, published yesterday, outlines the premises that cannot currently access superfast broadband and where telecommunications companies have no plans to reach in the next three years. This follows a detailed Open Market Review and discussions with the industry to establish, premises by premises, where the next stage of the rollout needs to take place.
The Welsh Government’s current Superfast Cymru project continues to make good progress. At the end of March 645,000 premises across Wales had been given access to fast fibre as a result of the programme. BT has confirmed it expects to deliver 30Mbps download speeds to around 690,000 premises before the programme closes at the end of December 2017.
The consultation will inform the next stage of the rollout to take place in early 2018 in order to reach the final few hard to reach premises. It has identified a list of over 98,000 premises. The rollout will be backed by a public sector budget of around £80m.
Minister for Skills and Science Julie James said:
“I am keen to hear the views of both the telecoms industry and residents and business owners on whether any further premises should be included or whether any premises currently on the list should be excluded.
“The consultation will help us to further refine the list of unconnected premises. The more responses we receive, the more comprehensive the list will be.
“If there are communities that have an interest in driving their own solutions, I want to hear from them. If there are views on how we should lot the procurement, I want to hear them. If there are views on how we should prioritise or target the funding, I want to hear them.
“We have already transformed the situation in Wales through Superfast Cymru. The most recent Ofcom report showed that Wales has the best superfast broadband availability amongst the devolved nations, with over eight out ten premises with access. This compares with just over half in 2014.
“But the work does not end when Superfast Cymru ends. We want to reach the final few premises. There will be further engagement with the industry and key stakeholders over the summer to refine the procurement approach with a view to invite formal tenders to deliver the new project in September with the new project beginning in early 2018.
“I am committed to achieving our ambitions in Taking Wales Forward to offer fast reliable broadband to every property in Wales.”
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