European investment is playing a major role in helping deliver Next Generation Broadband to 96% of Wales’ homes and businesses by 2016, Finance Minister Jane Hutt said.
The Minister spoke as she joined the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates to launch a superfast broadband cabinet in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan.
The combined investment in fibre broadband in Wales, including the Superfast Cymru programme and BT’s commercial roll-out is around £425m of which £90m is from the European Regional Development Fund (BT £220m, Welsh Government £58m, UK Government £57m).
It is the largest project of its kind in the UK and will make Wales one of the best connected countries in the World – ahead of both the USA and Japan. Since work started in January 2013 over 100,000 premises have already been given access to fast fibre broadband.
Finance Minister Jane Hutt said:
“Superfast Cymru, a partnership between the Welsh Government and BT, is taking fibre broadband to parts of Wales not covered by commercial plans. It will transform the broadband landscape across our country, ensuring we are at the forefront of the global digital economy in Europe
“European investment has been absolutely crucial in enabling us to deliver this major project, and it means that by the end of spring 2016, 96% of premises in Wales will have access fast fibre broadband.”
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said:
“Superfast fibre broadband can transform the way we communicate with each other, how we do business, the way we access entertainment and how we use public services.
“Our plans for superfast fibre are the most ambitious in the UK and will help ensure that Wales is one of the most connected countries in the world by 2016.”
Ann Beynon, BT Director Wales, said:
“The roll out continues to gain momentum so many more communities can look forward to the benefits of superfast broadband in the weeks and months to come.
“The availability of high speed broadband is essential to consumers and businesses across Wales and to a market town like Cowbridge. Growing the SME base and making it more prosperous has always been a key aim of the Wales European funding programme. ”
Superfast broadband enables businesses to work faster and more efficiently, benefitting from faster upload and download speeds and reducing the need to travel, helping to create jobs and expand businesses.
At home superfast broadband is not just about a faster internet experience or about doing one thing quicker. It’s about everyone in the house being able to do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether that is streaming films, downloading music, studying or keeping in touch with loved ones.