Arqiva claims £30m could ensure universal Welsh broadband
All residents and businesses in Wales could receive broadband access for a "small proportion" of the public funding that has been made available to the country, according to communications infrastructure company Arqiva.
Speaking at a cross-party inquiry conducted by the Welsh Affairs Committee, Alastair Davidson said around 90,000 properties cannot currently receive speeds of 2Mbps, which he claimed is the "reasonable level of service that everybody should have".
Mr Davidson insisted this issue could be eradicated by investing around half of the £56.9 million set aside by the UK government to boost broadband services in Wales.
"Our estimates are that you could solve the broadband notspot problem in Wales for about £30 million, which is a small proportion of the funds available," he was quoted by the Western Mail as saying.
However, Mr Davidson's Arqiva colleague Julian McGougan warned the committee that the opportunity to deliver universal broadband could be missed if policymakers become obsessed with providing the fastest possible speeds.
Mr McGougan urged ministers against fixating on 'Ferrari-fast' broadband and instead said they should focus on ensuring all residents are able to access 2Mbps connectivity.
There are Welsh consumers who currently have no broadband and there is a "real risk" this will still be the case in 2015, he claimed.
"We know some people are not going to get super-fast," Mr McGougan added. "It would just be utterly unpractical to deliver to them and the funds aren't available so what we need to do is address that market."
However, a spokeswoman from the Welsh government argued this opinion is "tainted" by commercial interests and declared the administration is committed to delivering the best possible broadband coverage to all areas of Wales.
The UK government has urged the Welsh Assembly to provide match-funding for its £56.9 million investment in order to bring next-generation broadband to 90 per cent of homes and businesses, with 2Mbps capabilities for remaining properties.