Welsh Conservatives slam Welsh Government for removing broadband postcode checker
Welsh Conservatives have accused the Welsh Government of keeping the people in the dark over its handling of high-speed broadband.
The Welsh Government is currently undertaking a Wales-wide roll out of its full-fibre broadband programme and had been hosting a postcode checker on its website to allow individuals to ascertain if their premises will be included.
But according to Peter Fox, MS for Monmouth, the Welsh Government has now removed the postcode checker, causing huge concern and worry to residents in his constituency.
Speaking in the Welsh Parliament, he said: “More and more work—and indeed other daily activities—are shifting online, meaning having a fast broadband speech is absolutely crucial.
“But the Welsh Government’s actions mean that many people haven’t a clue if their premises will be included in the government’s rollout. Some people have instead attempted to use Openreach’s checker, but it fails to distinguish between premises being connected through the Welsh Government-funded rollout programme and Openreach’s commercial rollout.
“I have urged the First Minister to act quickly to address people’s concerns and ensure the full-fibre broadband rollout reaches the length and breadth of the Monmouth constituency.”
Cllr Sara Jones, Deputy Leader of Monmouthshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “Leaving constituents across Monmouthshire utterly perplexed as to whether their properties will be included in the full-fibre rollout is not acceptable.
“Over the past few weeks, I have been contacted by anxious constituents who’ve expressed real concerns over this lack of transparency.
“We are calling on Ministers to move quickly to address people’s concerns, giving them clarity on what is currently an opaque situation.”
In June Openreach outlined plans to work with the Welsh Government to deliver ultrafast Full Fibre broadband across Wales in some of the country’s hardest to serve communities.
A total of 140 exchanges across the country are being upgraded, with the majority of homes and businesses in places such as Abersoch, Bethesda, Borth, Cardigan, Nefyn, Nelson, Narberth, Llantwit Major & Kidwelly set to benefit from the five-year scheme.
More than 20,000 households and businesses on Ynys Môn are set to benefit alongside more than 30,000 in Pembrokeshire, around 30,000 in Powys, more than 20,000 in Gwynedd and approximately 20,000 in Monmouthshire.
Lee Waters, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said: “Fast, reliable broadband is more important than ever, so seeing more homes and businesses set to be connected is definitely welcome.”
“Through our Superfast Cymru programme we stepped in with a £200m public sector investment to bring superfast broadband coverage across Wales up to 95%, despite broadband not being devolved.
“With the roll-out of even faster, gigabit broadband already gathering pace we continue to work with Openreach to use public funding to support properties in some of the hardest to reach parts of Wales.
“Broadband is a key utility and we’ll continue to support all efforts to boost connections the length of breadth of Wales.”