Study reveals Welsh broadband divide header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

A new study has revealed the extent of the disparities between broadband connections in Wales. 

Using figures collected by telecoms watchdog Ofcom, WalesOnline found download speeds in Cardiff are far higher than in other parts of the country. The average connection in the capital is 21.3 Mbps, with 91 per cent of households having the potential to access super-fast services. 

However, in Merthyr Tydfil - which is only 25 miles away from Cardiff - speeds are just 6.8 Mbps, with close to zero per cent super-fast coverage. 

According to WalesOnline, only 11 of the 22 local authorities in Wales have access to high-speed broadband in over half of their constituency. It also claimed connections tend to be faster in the south of the country compared to the north. 

William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesman for rural affairs, told the news provider: "Unfortunately, the Welsh government has been slow in providing answers to Wales' digital deficit.

"Technology moves fast and it is vital that people in all parts of Wales take advantage of developments such as super-fast broadband."

He said some rural areas of the country are "complete not-spots" where even very basic broadband and mobile phone access is limited. 

"This disparity is unfair but is also having an economic impact upon businesses and families in rural Wales," Mr Powell added.

The large number of rural and remote settlements in Wales means it is expensive and difficult for broadband technologies such as fibre optic and ADSL (phone-lined based broadband) to reach homes and businesses. 

However, this is not the only option, as satellite broadband technology is ideally suited to improving connectivity in Wales as it only requires the installation of a small satellite dish to function, meaning the issue of location is irrelevant. 

Furthermore, satellite can regularly provide speeds of up to 20 Mbps, which is a vast improvement on the services many Welsh residents receive at the moment.