Connecting Wales

The third section of the IWA’s draft Wales Media Audit, which looks at internet and broadband.

Since the last media audit took place in 2008, the availability and take-up of internet and broadband in Wales has changed drastically.

IWA Wales Media Audit

Monday: Read Lee Waters’ introduction to the IWA Wales Media Audit

Tuesday: See section 1 of the draft Wales Media Audit in full here. 

Yesterday: Read the Wales Media Audit’s findings on Radio in full. 

Today: See the Wales Media Audit’s findings on internet. 

In July 2012, The Welsh Government signed an agreement with BT, following a public tender process, for the delivery of superfast broadband to 96% of premises in Wales by spring 2016, with a minimum speed of 24 Mbit/s. A significant number of premises will be able to access speeds in excess of 30 Mbit/s and at least 40% of premises within the intervention area2 will benefit from speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s. The £425 million project is funded by a £220 million investment by BT along with a total public sector investment of £205 million, which includes European Structural Funding of £89.5 million, (£80 million of which is Convergence funding) UK Government funding of £56.9 million and Welsh Government funding of £58.6 million.

As a result of Broadband penetration including mobile and fixed access has almost doubled between 2006 and 2015, going from 42% to 78%. Superfast Broadband access in Wales remains slightly below the UK average of 83%.

You can read the full section on internet and broadband here. Let us know what you think about the Draft Wales Media Audit by emailing [email protected], ahead of the Cardiff Media Summit on November 11th.

7 thoughts on “Connecting Wales

  1. And what of Virgin Media who already provide a wide network in south Wales with speeds in excess of 100Mb actual, not predicted as much of so-called “superfast” is.
    Please don’t get duped into promoting the greatness of this “partnership”, overall Wales remains in the slow lane and parts remain seriously unconnected.

  2. I simply don’t believe the stats (drawn from the OFCOM source document) saying 78% of households in Wales have access to superfast broadband. I would like to know what their definition of access actually is. Our local exchange has been enabled but in practice it is only the people in the village immediately around it who can access the service and they already had 20Mb ADSL. Anybody who lives a kilometre or two away or beyond remains in the dark. BT have just taken the taxpayers money to upgrade cherry picked densely populated areas they were already intending to roll out. The gap between the hinterland and urban areas has simply widened yet closing this was originally billed as a key objective of the initiative.

  3. Do enjoy this alternate view from 2013

    If you think that this tax payer funded splurgefest is not going to deliver for you by June 2016 of course you could take it up with BT Wales CEO – oh hang on, looks like she has just left the building before this crucial project is signed off,

    Westminster doesn’t seem as complimentary of BT’s efforts as WG is.

  4. Not so much a partnership, or competition between providers, but delivery of a reasonable level of Broadband services in Wales by 2016. We have almost forgotten the frustrating and costly days of dial up.

    The question to be debated is the effect of Broadband access to 96% premisis, and whether or not there will be a “great leap forward” in technological know-how, and the productive use of the internet, with achievement of the target.

  5. Having spent over a decade as a professional adviser and expert on the business use of ‘Gordon Brown’s world wide websphere’ during its early roll out and adoption, and as a heavy user for my own business, I think I am reasonably qualified to comment. I think I can argue that even if there were to be a very high ‘take up’ of ahem… superfast broadband (which there isn’t) it will have a minimal impact on the Welsh economy except in certain small sectors (such as the Media).
    You don’t need high speed internet for sending and receiving email which is the most important use of the Internet for business (because that is how the orders and money comes in). You would think that with the easy availability of video conferencing (to save travel costs) that more business people would do it but the reality is that they don’t and probably still wouldn’t even with increased speeds and quality provided by superfast. Although all businesses need a website as a ‘calling card’ (phone number and location is 98% of the job done) the traffic and income generation potential is usually very very small indeed. Selling and shopping online and the main so-called eCommerce will be and is done by the mega sites such as eBay, Amazon and so on – some of these may have a Wales based distribution centre but their money patently isn’t.
    This isn’t to say that the roll out of decent internet speeds and access isn’t vitally important if we want to be regarded as a modern ‘digital’ society, it is, but I have yet to be convinced that it will be the key to a more dynamic or diverse Welsh economy. Most people are still essentially ‘passive’ users, viewers and consumers of Internet content, we know this because actual ‘interactivity’ (eg. by writing this comment on the IWA blog) is a skillset most people are reluctant to exercise.

  6. Chris Jones. you are better informed than me but I have a question. Granted that the vast majority are passive users, is that relevant. The vast majority of people don’t start businesses with growth potential. If superfast broadband helps just a few people to do so, isn’t that its justification? I have no idea whether that will happen.

  7. CJ hits the nail on the head – there is a limit to how fast anybody can read a web page. SME’s, many of which are scattered across, the hinterland just need enough bandwidth for VOIP which is comfortably achieved with 10MBps. If you need more than that then your probably going to be big enough to have to move closer to a conurbation to recruit the people you need. High tech firms worked this out a long time ago and don’t set up in the sticks – the clue is in the evidence that all our Techniums flopped at great cost to the taxpayer. Striving for 10MBps as a universal minimum provision across Wales would have been much more sensible than pockets of high speed internet around Edwina Harts constituency and the rest of us stumbling along.

Comments are closed.

Also within Culture