Government unveils plans to expand superfast broadband across Wales

A string of new measures has been outlined by the Welsh Government to expand the rollout of “fast and reliable” broadband technology across Wales.

Speaking last week, technology minister Julie James confirmed that the government is looking to plough more money into efforts to improve broadband connectivity in Wales.

Launched in 2013, Superfast Cymru is the organisation responsible for bringing the latest broadband technologies to premises across the country.

According new research from Ofcom, Wales has the highest availability of superfast broadband out of the devolved nations. Average speeds are currently at 30Mbps.

But the government said it wants to improve this and has allocated an additional £80 million to a new rollout scheme. The minister said it “encourages rural delivery, business prioritisation and ultrafast 100Mbps services”.

The scheme will look for solutions for “areas suffering the lowest download speeds along with lower 4G mobile data coverage” and create “safeguards to ensure communities are kept up to date as far as possible on whether they will be included”.

The assembly member said the new measures include a review and continuation of voucher schemes for people who struggle to access superfast broadband. A dedicated broadband outreach team will aim to fix challenges too.

Julie James praised the success of the scheme, saying: “Through Superfast Cymru we have fundamentally altered the broadband landscape in Wales, bringing superfast broadband to areas of Wales that simply would not have been connected.

“We must not lose sight of the significant achievement that this large-scale engineering project represents.  Homes and businesses the length and breadth of Wales are now enjoying the benefits of this investment and accessing digital services.

Despite the success, she believes that the scheme can still go further. There’s more work to be done in bringing superfast broadband to rural areas, she said.

“Despite the success of Superfast Cymru in transforming broadband connectivity across Wales, there is clearly more work to be done and this Government is committed to taking further action,” added James.

“The suite of measures I am announcing today, when taken together, will help us to realise the ambition described in Taking Wales Forward to bring people together digitally by offering fast reliable broadband to every property in Wales.

“Together, the successor scheme, the community scheme and our voucher schemes will provide a comprehensive package of interventions that will help us meet the challenges ahead.”