The Superfast Cymru Infil project has been launched to address the areas of Wales that will not be covered by Superfast Cymru following last years public consultation.
The Welsh Government (WG) admits that its current Superfast Cymru contract with BT will not provide Superfast Broadband services to 100 % of premises in Wales by June 2016.
WG’s new Invitation to Tender for interested providers predicts the contract length to be some 7 years (ie 2022). This could mean that people and businesses in rural counties such as Powys, may find themselves suffering at the end of the line for some time to come.
Four out of five UK properties can now access superfast speeds, according to the UK Government’s announcement today.
On the face of it the UK Governments BDUK scheme has certainly delivered the goods in terms of speeding up the process of getting fibre broadband to the UK fairly quickly, however the difference between having access to, and actually experiencing superfast broadband remains a contentious issue.
The Welsh Government ‘aims to make fibre available to 96 per cent of premises in Wales by Spring 2016’. Some commentators suggest that this figure is likely to missed. Think Broadband estimate that 10.4% of properties (that is about 170,000) in Wales will not get Superfast Broadband (24Mbs).
That said issue that needs to be highlighted and understood is that access to fibre doesn’t necessarily mean that end users will be able to enjoy the benefits of faster Broadband.
The UK Government has long stated that it would like the UK to have the “fastest broadband of any major European country by 2015”.
The Welsh Government states that it’s “committed to seeing Wales become a truly digital nation” and becoming “one of the most connected countries in the world by Spring 2016.” That said for many homes and businesses in Rural Wales accessing fast and reliable Broadband is still hit and miss affair.
Whilst some still maybe struggling with poor internet access, the UK Regulator OFCOM have released their European Broadband Scorecard which shows the impressive improvement with the UK topping the charts in a number of categories.
Whilst the progresss of Broadband deployments is positive news for Wales, the Broadband Scorecard will may prove uncomfortable reading for many in rural communities who already feel digitally disenfranchised and left behind in the digital slow lane.