Aberavon AM, David Rees, has raised the issue of broadband connections in the Afan Valley. He spoke of his concern in a question to the First Minister regarding the Welsh Government’s priorities for developing the economies of valley communities.

David Rees AM said:
“The Welsh Government alongside BT has done fantastic work but, unfortunately, our valley communities have often lagged behind our more densely populated coastal regions when it comes to receiving internet connectivity. The availability of robust high-speed broadband in the 21st century is essential: Super-fast broadband can give our businesses a significant competitive edge, helping them save money and improve their services. Sophisticated communications are the lifeblood of any successful community.”
“It’s vital that the Welsh Government coordinates with BT and other providers to ensure that these communities do not once again find themselves behind more urban areas when new generation broadband is introduced.”

Earlier this year BT has announced a major expansion of super-fast broadband in Swansea, Port Talbot and Llanelli. The high-speed technology will become available to another 60,000 homes and businesses by Spring 2013 in the latest phase of BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out of super-fast fibre broadband in the UK. It will take the number of homes and businesses in Wales being passed by the new super-fast network to 540,000. However, several thousand homes in Valleys’ communities will not be included in this initial expansion by BT.

The Welsh Government has spent over £1.6 million on broadband notspots through its Broadband Support scheme. Alongside this, businesses can apply to the Welsh Government’s Broadband Support Scheme, which is helping to deal with notspots by providing direct grant support.
It is a Welsh Government commitment to deliver broadband to all households and businesses by 2015 through its Next Generation Broadband for Wales (NGBW) project. The NGBW project covers the territory of each of the 22 local authorities in Wales.