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Action needed to bridge digital divide between rural and urban Wales - Mick Bates AM

2009 Gorffenaf 29 12:55 PM

Montgomeryshire AM Mick Bates is calling for action to address the digital divide between rural and urban Wales, following a recent report by Ofcom 'UK Broadband Speeds 2009' which highlights that Welsh consumers receive slower broadband speeds than the rest of the UK, with a growing divide between urban and rural areas.

Ofcom's report, which was compiled using a sample of 1,600 broadband users across the UK, shows that broadband in Wales was typically slower than the rest of the UK, with an average download speed of 3.3Mbit/s compared to figures of 3.5Mbit/s for Scotland, 4Mbit/s for England and 4.1Mbit/s for Northern Ireland.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Mick stated:

"The Ofcom report is clear evidence that the Government must take swift action to improve the broadband infrastructure across the country, in particular across rural Wales where connection speeds are slower than anywhere, if it is to have any hope of reaching the aim to deliver broadband access of at least 2Mbit/s to virtually all UK households by 2012.

"Consumers across Wales deserve the fast and reliable service that they were sold, yet the report Ofcom report shows that the majority of people in Wales do not receive the speed of service that they were offered and pay for.

"No-one underestimates the significant challenge of providing fast broadband in rural areas, but this challenge can be overcome with investment in innovative solutions such as satellite technology or using a sub exchange in rural villages to boost the signal.

"Broadband is not longer a luxury but a necessity for so many people as more and more services rely on access, so it is time for the Government to end the excuses and take real action to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban Wales."