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Welsh broadband gets multimillion-pound boost

The Welsh government will receive nearly £57m in order to help residents get faster, more reliable internet connections.The cash was allocated to Wales from the coalition government's £530m fund to improve broadband connectivity in the UK.
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor on

The Welsh government will receive nearly £57m in order to help residents get faster, more reliable internet connections.

The cash was allocated to Wales from the coalition government's £530m fund to improve broadband connectivity in the UK.

"We are investing £56.9 million to help take broadband to the whole of Wales. If the Welsh government matches our investment, 90 per cent of the country's homes and businesses will have access to super-fast broadband," Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Welsh government will decide how best to use the money to improve broadband, the Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.

Cheryl Gillan, Secretary of State for Wales, welcomed the news, saying that it will dramatically increase the speed at which the country can improve its broadband networks.

"Last week's Ofcom report into broadband provision highlighted the challenge facing us in Wales to ensure we improve provision for domestic and business users. Today's announcement will ensure broadband take-up and speed can be significantly improved, benefitting individuals and businesses," she said.

The allocation of the nearly £57m of funding is part of a governmental drive to ensure that 90 percent of the UK has access to 24Mbps broadband connections — referred to by Ofcom as 'super-fast' connections — by 2015 and that all residents have access to connections of 2Mbps, at a minimum.

A DCMS spokesman confirmed to ZDNet UK that the £56.9m figure includes the £10m allocated by George Osborne in February aimed at providing next-generation broadband to Pwllheli and surrounding areas of North Wales.

A fixed broadband map of the UK, launched by Ofcom 15 July, shows that many areas in Wales offer no access at all to fixed line super-fast broadband services. Additionally, it also showed that around 18 to 25 percent of people in these areas only have access to connections of 2Mbps or slower.

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