Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion, has demanded action from the Welsh Government to enable the 4% of areas which are outside the ‘Superfast Cymru’ fibre optic programme to access high-speed internet.
The Superfast Cymru project is currently being undertaken by BT across Ceredigion, with parts of Aberystwyth already connected and work due to begin in most other areas over the next 12 months. However, the contract only obliges BT to cover 96% of premises in Wales, and there is concern about how the remaining homes and businesses will receive superfast broadband.
In response to questioning by Elin Jones, the Welsh Government announced that it was now consulting on an ‘infill’ programme to run concurrently with Superfast Cymru, to support those areas that would otherwise miss out.
Elin Jones, said,
“It’s imperative that no house or business should be without access to fast broadband internet. We cannot afford for people to be left behind.
“Broadband is one of the most common reasons that people come and see me as their local AM. For many people, the Superfast Cymru fibre programme will bring great benefit. But people are understandably concerned that some areas which already get a poor deal in terms of broadband – including rural parts of the county – will be among the percentage which is left out.
“I’ve been pressing the Welsh Government to take measures to ensure that everyone is included. It’s so vital to the future of many businesses and the connectivity of Ceredigion. Only last week a local firm was telling me that their internet speed was 0.11 Mbps – far too slow to run a business effectively online.
“I’m pleased that this issue is taken seriously and that it’s not going to be left until after the Superfast Cymru programme is completed before any action is taken. We need 100% coverage.”