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Broadband summit hears of frustrations

Created on 20/07/2017 @ 05:56
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A Montgomeryshire Broadband Summit, hosted by local Assembly Member, Russell George, has underlined concerns that the area is slipping behind the rest of Wales for connectivity.

The Summit allowed community leaders and representatives from across Montgomeryshire to hear from the Welsh Government’s Minister for Skills & Science, Julie James AM, who has overall responsibility for the Superfast Cymru fibre broadband scheme.

Mrs James was followed by the BT Director of the Superfast Cymru scheme, Ed Hunt, to address community leaders and answer questions about the Superfast Cymru scheme as well as to discuss plans to improve broadband coverage after the current scheme reaches its conclusion at the end of 2017.

Mr George said: “I was delighted that the Minister took the time to attend this important broadband summit which provided an invaluable opportunity for community leaders to communicate their frustrations about the way in which the Superfast Cymru project has been deployed in North Powys.

“It remains a significant concern to me that many rural communities across Montgomeryshire appear to be excluded from the fibre broadband upgrade or, at the very least, are at the back of the queue when it comes to receiving superfast speeds.

“While the Superfast Cymru project has undoubtedly improved the availability of fibre broadband across Wales benefitting both residents and businesses, there are many areas of Montgomeryshire which still find themselves with inadequate broadband.

“The reality is that we, in North Powys, are some way off from receiving universal access to next generation broadband. The goalposts have been repeatedly moved and businesses have been unable to plan for the future.

“One of the most frustrating issues for residents is being told one month that they’ll have access to fibre broadband by a certain date, only to be told a few weeks later that there are significant further delays or in some cases, won’t receive it at all, due to familiar reasons including “distance from the cabinet”, “unforeseen technical and engineering issues” or “the need to provide additional capacity at the exchange”. This has resulted in an underlying scepticism over the overall success of the project to deliver on its original promise.

“Montgomeryshire can no longer afford to be the poor relation when it comes to fibre broadband and this Summit was an opportunity for us to press the Welsh Government and BT to bring forward a successor scheme which will extend superfast broadband to every property and business in Mid Wales and learn from the mistakes which have characterised the Superfast Cymru scheme’s public communications.”


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