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Wales gets broadband boost

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The Welsh Assembly is to stump-up a load of cash to bring broadband to Wales, Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies announced today.

The £100m Broadband Wales programme - made up of a combination of aggregated public sector demand and barrow-loads of cash - should bring broadband to 310,000 extra homes and 67,000 extra businesses in Wales.

Broadband services are currently limited in Wales due to the cost of extending the network, especially in rural areas.

Those behind the project claim it will help build the foundations of an "all-Wales broadband network" and stimulate significant further infrastructure investment.

Said Davies: "To build a more prosperous Wales for the future we must have strong communication infrastructure.

"It is essential to help us generate more wealth, give people more skills and ensure that Wales plays its full place in the modern world. Broadband Wales is our strategy to help deliver a winning Welsh economy by 2010.

"This is the biggest public sector investment of it kind in the UK. It will push Wales ahead of the rest of the UK in public broadband access."

The Welsh Assembly has already committed £23 million to broadband, along with £20 million from the Welsh Development Agency. There could also be cash from Europe courtesy of Objective One status.

From September 2002, Broadband Wales will subsidise the cost of broadband ADSL satellite connections to SMEs where no terrestrial connection is available in a bid to ensure that all businesses get equal access to fast Net access.

And within five years it's hoped that broadband will be made available to an extra 310,000 homes, 67,000 business and all new and existing business parks in Wales. ®

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