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Welsh government lays out broadband plans

All businesses in Wales will have access to high-speed broadband by 2016, according to a report published by the Welsh Assembly
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Welsh businesses will all have access to next-generation broadband by 2016, the Welsh Assembly pledged on Wednesday.

The Delivering a Digital Wales report (PDF) also stated that "all households will be enabled by 2020". Although the broader UK plan for super-fast broadband is for almost all of the country to get connected by 2015, much of Wales is rural and some of it would fall into the small percentage that Westminster's subsidies will not reach, making the Welsh Assembly's promise a fresh commitment.

The document stated that, as of 2009, 58 percent of Wales had broadband access, and 75 percent of Welsh small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) "use the internet in some way" — the UK figure for internet-using SMEs is 81 percent. According to the Welsh Assembly, only 35 percent of the Welsh population is likely to get super-fast broadband without public subsidy.

"We will seek to ensure that market-led private investment in next-generation broadband and additional next-generation deployment through public sector intervention will together deliver high-speed broadband services throughout Wales," the document read. "We expect that all businesses in Wales will have access to next-generation broadband by the middle of 2016, and that all households will be enabled by 2020."

The report added that any public-sector-funded super-fast broadband in Wales would have to deliver at least 30Mbps, "and ideally 100Mbps to avoid the need for repeat investment at a later date".

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