The Welsh Governement has admitted that rural residents could miss out on a grant scheme, because they don’t know where the broadband not spots will be.
Residents and businesses in rural Wales are eligible for a grant from the Welsh Government as part of the Access Broadband Cymru scheme, provided that their postcode area isn’t due to be connected by BT as part of the Superfast Cymru BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) project.
Superfast Cymru, which aims to connect at least 96 per cent of the country to superfast, isn’t due to be finished until 2015. By this time residents could have applied for grants of up to £1,000 to pay for wireless or satellite broadband services installed.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Welsh BroadbandRural residients who have applied for money have had applications rejected, as they are living in areas earmarked for fibre. But due to their distance from BT exchanges and cabinets (see our guide to Fibre to the Cabinet) they will remain in the broadband doledrums.
The issue has thrown up many anomalies, leading to the admission from the Welsh Government that until fibre is rolled out in areas, they wouldn’t be able to say which premises will benefit from fibre-based broadband and which won’t.
Carys Williams, who runs a small business on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales told Welsh newspaper the Daily Post that her mother was able to get a grant for installation. Despite living only 400 yards away from her, she cannot get a grant herself.
Williams said: “The intention was for me to continue doing this from home using broadband but now that looks impossible. We have been told we will not meet the criteria because of the fibre broadband rollout although my mum has just had it installed. She applied before the criteria changed but we never got round to it.”
A Welsh government spokesman told the newspaper that until the detailed planning and surveying work has been undertaken in an area “it is not possible to say categorically that a particular premises will not benefit.”
The spokesman added that the government would be revisiting areas throughout the life of the Superfast Cymru programme, but “we will not be able to assess eligibility until after it has been completed.”
The Superfast Cymru project is due to finish in 2015.
Image: Steve Povey/Geograph