Welsh Government hits back at Tory minister’s broadband claims
The Welsh Government has rejected claims made in the House of Commons that it is responsible for the rollout of high-speed broadband in Wales.
Wales Office minister James Davies made the assertion in response to a question from Labour shadow Wales secretary Jo Stevens.
She had asked: “The Government’s project gigabit boasts that it’s going to deliver lightning-fast reliable broadband to every corner of the UK.
“But the project update that was published this week by his Government shows that Wales has the lowest coverage of any of the home nations. Just 57% compared for example to 73% in England and 89% in Northern Ireland.
“So doesn’t that represent yet another broken promise by the Tories to Wales?”
James Davies replied: “The geography and topography of Wales does make additional connections more tricky than in some other areas.
“But she’s also aware that actually it’s the Welsh Government that have been leading on the rollout of broadband in Wales in conjunction with BDUK (Building Digital UK), and I agree with her there needs to be more work done to improve those figures.”
Following the exchange, a Welsh Government spokesperson insisted: “The Wales Office Minister is mistaken. Broadband rollout is the responsibility of the UK Government.
“However, the Welsh Government has previously stepped in to leverage UK Government investment into Wales, using European funding, to ensure broadband was rolled out to even more premises than planned under commercial rollout plans.
“Our intervention has transformed superfast broadband coverage across Wales by connecting 730,000 premises, ensuring Wales maintained pace with the rest of the UK at 96% coverage.”
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