More than 100,000 homes and businesses in Wales can now access superfast fibre-based broadband.
Culture secretary Maria Miller, who heads up the government’s BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) plan, announced that the Superfast Cymru is on track to deliver superfast broadband to 96 per cent of the country by the end of 2015.
This is despite the project slightly missing its own self-imposed ‘100,000 homes by 2014’ deadline by nine days, although the recent extreme weather might have something to do with that.
Miller said: “Superfast broadband has something for everyone and it’s brilliant news that more than 100,000 Welsh homes and businesses are already gaining real social and commercial advantages as a result of the nationwide rollout.
“The contribution that the government’s delivery of superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 will make to the economic growth of the nation cannot be underestimated.”
The government issued a UK Broadband Impact Study in November 2013, which predicted that the BDUK project would deliver a return on investment of £20 for every £1 spent.
David Jones, secretary of state for Wales announced that discussions for Wales to get extra money from a new £10 million rural broadband fund are underway. This could see the 96 per cent footprint increase and more communities in rural areas benefit.
Unfortunately this could lead to more headaches for for those hoping to benefit from the ABC (Access Broadband Cymru) scheme. Set up to fill in the gaps for people living outside of the 96 per cent, the Welsh Government admitted last year that ABC couldn’t really take place until Superfast Cymru project was finished.
Currently, Superfast Cymru is down to connect a total of 690,000 premises by 2016. Extra money could mean that this target is extended and therefore the possibility of applying for up to grants becomes more remote.