Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science
I am writing to inform Members on progress for our next generation broadband programme.
State aid approval has now been granted by the UK Government, allowing us to complete the Major Project Notification process to secure European Regional Development Fund structural funding worth £80million.
Our project partner BT has now also officially started work on the roll-out of the programme.
The Superfast Cymru programme is set to transform the broadband landscape in Wales and to promote economic growth and sustainable jobs in Wales. It will ensure we are at the forefront of the global digital economy and help to champion Wales as a great place to live, work, invest and visit.
BT had already made considerable progress to prepare for the programme, including engagement with planning and highways authorities across Wales. A roll-out plan has been prepared which takes into account the local demographics and cartography of Wales, together with the Welsh Government’s economic priorities, including the Enterprise Zones and the Powys local growth zone.
The fibre broadband roll-out will start in 14 unitary authorities during 2013/14. They are Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea and Vale of Glamorgan. Roll-out will be underway in all unitary authorities during 2014/15.
To assist Members with further details, I have organised a technical briefing session to be held on Tuesday 22nd January, 9.00-10.00, Conference Room 24, Ty Hywel. This session will also include an update on 4G mobile technology. All Members are invited to attend or to send a representative.
More detailed information on the roll-out will also be available shortly at the new Superfast Cymru website: www.superfast-cymru.com