The Treasury has announced £10m in funding for high-speed broadband access in areas of rural Wales, with further waves of investment promised for the area.
The funding, unveiled by chancellor George Osborne on Thursday, is aimed at providing next-generation broadband to Pwllheli and surrounding areas of North Wales, and forms part of the Welsh Assembly government’s nationwide broadband plan.
“This funding will support the Welsh economy and help drive the private sector-led recovery by driving innovation and commercial opportunities in communities across Wales,” Osborne said in a statement.
“This is just the first wave of funding for Wales from the over half-a-billion pounds we have already set aside to extend super-fast broadband across the UK,” he added.
In the same statement, Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan said the rollout across Wales will require the testing of “innovative approaches that bring broadband to hard-to-reach areas”. She added that the £10m announced on Thursday will do just that.
The funding news came shortly after Ian Lucas, the Labour MP for the Welsh town of Wrexham, criticised the length of time it is taking for the government’s Broadband Delivery UK office to deliver four pilot schemes that were announced in October.
“Before we can make any progress, the pilot projects have to be commenced and assessed. At the moment they haven’t even been tendered for, let alone commenced,” Lucas is quoted in PC Pro as saying. “I’m trying to press the government to pull its finger out and get this moving as quickly as possible. No progress can be made as the particulars of the trials haven’t been specified from the government.”
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