Welsh people 'need updates on next generation broadband rollout' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Homes and businesses in Wales need to be kept in the loop on when next generation broadband might become available, a new report has concluded.

According to the Public Accounts Committee at the National Assembly, reasonable progress on the rollout of the infrastructure upgrades is being made.

However, the holder of the contract - BT/Openreach - has been criticised because the deadline for supplying a specific number of premises with high-speed broadband has been extended by two years - but the company has faced "little in the way of financial penalties".

The committee has therefore insisted that people across Wales need to know if or when the infrastructure upgrades will reach them.

Darren Millar AM, chair of the committee, said: "The need for households and businesses in Wales to have access to next generation broadband is becoming more and more important.

"Broadband has the potential to help businesses in rural areas connect with the rest of the world and tap into enormous opportunities."

However, he said its inquiry has revealed that people are getting frustrated because the details of when they will be connected - or even if they will be connected at all - is hard to come by.

Mr Millar also noted that some of the information that has been given out has been contradictory.

This, he said, has knock-on effects on people who are deciding where to live and businesses who are making decisions regarding their future growth.

Mr Millar insisted that both BT and the Welsh Government need to communicate much more clearly if people are to have genuine confidence in the high-speed broadband scheme.

The committee added that a full update on work to improve communications relating to the programme, as well as the progress of efforts to boost broadband connectivity in hard-to-reach areas, must be made available by September 2016 at the latest.