Wales leading way in rural broadband rollout

Published on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 11:11
Written by Daniel Mason

New statistics released today reveal a dramatic acceleration in the government's nationwide rollout of superfast broadband. At the end of 2013, the number of premises benefiting from superfast broadband as a result of the programme had almost tripled to 273,731.

A key part of the government's long-term economic plan to secure Britain's future by providing better infrastructure, the £1.2bn project is well on track. Based on past performance and these new statistics it's forecast that more than 300,000 UK premises can now access superfast speeds due to the programme, making a real difference to people's daily lives. The number of homes and premises gaining access will rise from 10,000 per week to 40,000 per week by the summer.

The statistics demonstrate that the government's transformation of broadband in rural areas is well underway and is on track to deliver coverage to 95 per cent of the country by 2017. The benefits are already being enjoyed by many, with families able to simultaneously stream films and TV, download music and upload photos and videos to social media sites in seconds. Businesses can collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing.

Progress to date includes:

  • Number of properties able to access superfast as a result of the rollout has almost tripled since September (273,731 as of 31.12.13, up from 111,968 on 31.09.13)
  • Half of the projects around the country already have "live" cabinets, with local homes and businesses benefitting from superfast access
  • Approximately 1000 cabinets have "gone live" in areas around the UK
  • UK coverage of superfast broadband is already higher than Germany, Italy and Spain, and more than double that of France.
  • Many projects are already ahead of schedule. Already 10,000 premises per week are gaining access to superfast broadband, and this increases to 25,000 per week in spring 2014, ramping up to 40,000 per week by summer 2014.

Culture secretary Maria Miller said: "Having superfast broadband is really important to people up and down the country whether they need it for work or simply to download music or films. These figures prove that there is now a real momentum with thousands of homes and businesses now getting access each week. This is part of our long term economic plan and broadband will be instrumental in driving growth and boosting local economies throughout the UK."

Secretary of state for Wales, David Jones said: "This government's plans for broadband UK-wide broadband rollout are hugely ambitious - but they are ambitions that are quickly being realised.

"Earlier this month, it was confirmed that 100,000 Welsh homes and businesses can now get access to superfast internet speeds as a result of the UK government's rollout of superfast broadband. These positive figures published today are testament to how UK government funding is enabling Wales to lead the way in the delivery of a broadband infrastructure this country needs to compete with the best in the world."

Wales Office minister with responsibility for broadband, Stephen Crabb MP said: "The contribution that this government's delivery of superfast broadband will make to economic growth in Wales and UK-wide cannot be underestimated.

By having access to superfast broadband, businesses can expand, develop new markets and create the jobs we need. From our rural heartlands to our urban city centres, this Government is ensuring the people of Wales have a broadband network fit for the digital age - no matter where they are.

"Details of how an additional £250m will be allocated to local authorities as part of the nationwide rollout to take coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 will be announced shortly."

Source: Wales Office

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