CLA Wales: get broadband in ‘not-spot’ areas first

Rural communities in Wales need access to workable broadband as soon as possible, rather than being forced to wait for more ambitious, headline-grabbing speeds, says the Country, Land & Business Association in Wales.

CLA Wales director, Ben Underwood, is urging ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government to help get Wales online quickly by ensuring provision to so-called “not-spots”, instead of improving connection speeds elsewhere.

“We are delighted that the Welsh Government is committed to ensuring 90% of homes and businesses in each local authority has access to superfast broadband and for everyone to have access to at least 2MB/second. But the priority has to be connecting those with no broadband or poor connections and not upgrading those already connected.

“The target date of 2015 isn’t good enough if you are trying to run a business in a ‘not-spot’ area, or your children need broadband to study or socialise, often in very remote places. Broadband is an essential tool to help UK businesses recover from the current economic crisis and rural businesses in Wales are at an unnecessary disadvantage if they cannot access an adequate broadband service.”

Mr Underwood said he welcomed news that the Welsh Governmnet was to extend its funding for rural broadband to £57m, but urged ministers not to “get carried away with sexy headline speeds” and instead to target “those urgently in need of what has become a basic service”.

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