Faster rural broadband and better mobile coverage in ALL parts of Wales is essential for our economic future. For businesses to grow, jobs to be created we must have good communication. With so many now working from home, access to better broadband and phone signal has never been more important.
Wales has the worst average broadband speeds in the UK and is bottom of the pile when it comes to broadband connectivity and mobile phone signal. The UK Government’s policy is to support the roll-out of superfast broadband to those areas not already reached by private investment. To do so, the UK Government has been providing funding to the Welsh Government through the superfast broadband programme.
Since March 2020, rural constituents have the legal right to request a decent, affordable broadband connection from BT under their new ‘Universal Service Obligation’ (USO) for Broadband. This is a safety net for those who currently struggle to get online because they cannot access a fast connection. In the first steps BT will be writing to those constituents recognised as eligible for upgraded broadband.
Mobile signal is also critical for rural Wales. I am pleased that the £1 billion Shared Rural Network deal to boost 4G right across the United Kingdom will ensure that many “not-spots” in Mid and North Wales in particular will soon become a thing of the past.