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Welsh communities to be consulted on next stage of broadband rollout

Friday, June 16th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The Welsh Government is consulting with communities and businesses ahead of the next stage of its superfast broadband rollout.

The current Superfast Cymru programme is expected to have delivered speeds of 30Mbps to around 690,000 premises when it closes at the end of December.

At the end of March, superfast speeds had been made available to 645,000 homes and businesses.

The next phase, set to take place in early 2018, is expected to reach those premises currently without superfast access in areas which broadband providers have no plans to reach in the next three years.

The Welsh Government has a budget of about £80m to fund the rollout and has already identified a list of around 98,000 properties.

Launching a consultation to further inform which properties should be included in the next stage of the programme, the Welsh Government’s minister for skills and science Julie James said she wanted to hear from residents, business owners and telecoms firms.

“The consultation will help us to further refine the list of unconnected premises,” she said. “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.”

'Final few premises'

Ms James said the broadband situation in Wales had already been “transformed” through Superfast Cymru.

She said research by Ofcom showed Wales had the best superfast availability of any of the devolved nations at more than 80%.

“But the work does not end when Superfast Cymru ends,” she added. “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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