Broadband 'should be universal to all'

The issue of broadband connectivity on the north Wales/Shropshire border was raised in the Welsh Assembly this week.

Ken Skates
Ken Skates

Clwyd South Member of the Senedd, Ken Skates, asked for an update on how the Welsh Government is helping to connect more businesses and homes across the region.

He said: “I share people’s frustration about areas which struggle to get a decent broadband connection. Broadband should be seen as a key piece of modern infrastructure, and everyone should be able to access it.

“The UK Government is responsible for telecommunications, including broadband, but the Welsh Government is having to use funds set aside for areas it is responsible for to step in where the market and the UK Government have failed to act.”

Minister Lee Waters said: “Responsibility for connectivity lies with the UK Government, but we continue to step in to provide connectivity. 7,508 premises have now been given access to full fibre in north Wales under the Welsh Government's £56m full fibre roll-out. We continue to provide connectivity solutions through our local broadband fund and our access-to-broadband scheme.”

Mr Skates said: “Given the Welsh Government's commitment to combating the climate emergency, and also given the huge rise in the number of people who are working remotely and working from home as a result of coronavirus, broadband should be regarded as a universal service, like the Royal Mail, and should be available to all” ”

“While telecommunications is not devolved, the Welsh Government has helped connect 95 per cent of properties in Wales.

“The Welsh Government has to comply with competition law, so cannot stipulate which properties should be connected. I know the Minister will continue to press the UK Government to class broadband as a universal."

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