Wales to miss out on broadband funding?

Welsh flag

Wales might not receive any of the extra funding for broadband, as outlined during the spending review, despite the high number of "not-spots" in the country.

During parliamentary questions, shadow business minister Ian Lucas questioned communications minister Ed Vaizey as to where the extra 530 million funding for roll-out, taken from the licence fee, would be spent and if Wales would be a beneficiary.

However, despite the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt telling Welsh MPs Wales would benefit from the Herefordshire pilot of new broadband technologies, Vaizey would offer no guarantee it the country would be allocated funding.

Lucas reported the answer on his blog, with Vaizey saying: "The approach being taken to the support of broadband rollout is to support specific projects rather than to make allocations to nations or regions."

Lucas, the MP for Wrexham, claimed the Welsh paid the licence fee in just the same way as other areas of the UK and it was unfair the country might not benefit from the funding.

"This would be less of a concern if there had not already been controversy over the way the Government handled the first round of bids for pilot projects," he said. "When Ministers effectively say Wales has to wait for the scraps from a project across the border, it does not inspire confidence."

"It is vital that Wales exerts as much pressure on the Government as possible to make sure it gets its fair share," Lucas added.

The pilot schemes for testing ways of providing broadband in rural areas were first announced by Hunt back in June with further details released in July.

The last Government made a pledge to get a minimum of 2Mbps internet connections to every household in the UK by 2012. However, the Conservative-led Coalition has rolled this target back to 2Mbps for all by 2015.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.