Wales will spend up to £80 million for 100% superfast coverage

The Welsh government has said that it will spend up to £80 million to ensure that every property in Wales has access to superfast fibre optic broadband.

The new project will succeed the Superfast Cymru project, which has been tasked with driving fibre optic rollouts across the country. The £425 million scheme has helped BT Openreach bring fibre optic broadband to around 95% of premises, with hopes to reach 96% by the end of next year.

That said, the Superfast Cymru project has faced some criticism - only around 90% of homes can get speeds of above 30Mb, which is what Ofcom defines as 'superfast'.

In addition, it was heavily criticised last week for being some distance behind the project's original targets. That promised that all homes and businesses would have access to 30Mb broadband or faster by 2015, and that at least 50% would have access to speeds of 100Mb.

Well, here we are nearing the end of 2016, and it's pretty clear that never happened. The Welsh government does, at least, still seem to want to get fibre optic broadband rolled out across the entire country.

Julie James, the Welsh minister for skills and science, said: "We know there is more to do. And our commitment in our Programme for Government, Taking Wales Forward, is to offer fast reliable broadband to every property in Wales. That is why we are looking at investing up to £80m in the next stage to bring faster broadband to those final hard to reach areas."

There are a few potential bumps in the road ahead, however. A big one is Brexit - the plan is based on Wales getting previously agreed money from Europe. However, with the UK leaving the EU, there's no guarantee that money will still come to the country. What will happen if it doesn't is unclear.

But if the cash does come, the project should get underway in January 2018.

Source: BBC News

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