“Superfast broadband is on its way to Wales” – William Powell AM
William Powell AM has welcomed the news that the Coalition Government's plans to bring superfast broadband to Wales have been approved by the European Commission. The Coalition has decided that Wales will be the very first area in the UK that will be benefit from this announcement.
This approval paves the way for the Coalition Government's £530m rural broadband scheme. Work on laying cables can now start in earnest for local authority broadband projects all around the UK, including Wales.
The Coalition has announced that Wales will get £57 million to provide superfast broadband across the area.
Commenting, William Powell, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, said:
"Superfast broadband is crucial to build a strong economy, where everyone has the opportunity to make a success of their business. This will create jobs and growth for us in Wales and ensure we can compete fairly with the big cities.
"It is also very important for local and national government to deliver public services effectively online and to going about our everyday lives.
"For too long, our area has missed out on investment in broadband. That's why I'm glad that Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government have done the right thing by making this a priority and ensuring that the European Commission approved the plans.
"I have always been clear we must not miss out on the digital age in Wales and I will be working with the Coalition Government and our local authority to ensure we deliver superfast broadband as soon as possible."
- The Coalition Government's broadband plans are hugely ambitious: the aim is to connect 90 per cent of homes to superfast broadband and ensuring the rest have access to at least 2Mbps.
- This support for the rollout of superfast broadband has now been approved by the European Commission, who has to approve any "state aid". State aid refers to forms of assistance which have the potential to distort competition and/or affect trade between member states of the EU.
The European Commission monitors and controls State Aid in the EU. Member States are obliged to notify and seek approval from the Commission before granting State Aid. This gives the Commission the opportunity to approve or refuse to approve the proposed measure.
- The European Commission's green light means that local authorities can now sign procurement contracts with contractors and begin delivery work on their new broadband infrastructure projects.
- The Department for Culture, Media and Sport defines 'superfast broadband' as broadband with potential headline download access speeds greater than 24 Mbps.
- The market will provide superfast broadband to around two thirds of the country but it is essential the whole country shares in the benefits of high-speed internet access. That is why the Coalition Government is providing additional funding to make it economically viable for telecoms companies to roll-out broadband to the whole of the UK.