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Poor broadband is 'deterring businesses', MPs warn

New businesses are shunning Wales because of its poor broadband quality, according to a group of MPs

The Welsh Affairs Committee also says the gap between Wales and England on the availability of broadband is widening.

It highlights so-called 'notspots' and 'slowspots' in rural areas, where broadband is slow or unobtainable. These - the committee says - are a deterrent to businesses considering to locate themselves in these areas.

  • A 'notspot' is defined as providing a download speed of consistently less than 512Kbps.
  • A 'slowspot' has speeds of more than 512Kbps but less than 2Mbps.

It is hard to believe, but in mid-2012 there are still some areas of Wales where people have no connection at all. It is impossible to see how businesses or the economy can develop in these areas

– David T.C. Davies MP, Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee

The UK Government has pledged to provide the UK with the "best broadband in Europe"

by providing access to superfast broadband for 90% of the UK by 2015.

The Welsh Government's target includes a commitment to provide all Welsh businesses with access to next-generation broadband by "the middle of 2016" - with a minimum speed of 2Mbps.

We welcome the report by the Welsh Affairs Committee today (17 Sept) and the UK Government will respond formally in due course.

The issue of broadband coverage in Wales is well known and one that we are seeking to address in collaboration with the Welsh Government. Last summer this Government committed £56.9 million to providing superfast broadband in Wales and we were pleased to see that this will be delivered by the end of 2015. The £425 million investment is testament to how Wales' two Governments can work together, with £205 million of the costs coming from the UK and Welsh Governments and EU structural funds, and the rest from BT who are carrying out the work.

Cardiff has also been selected to become one of the first super connected cities with funding of up to £12 million being provided, with Swansea and Newport eligible to bid in the second wave of funding announced earlier this year.

We have also committed to improving mobile phone coverage in Wales, with the recent Budget allocating £150 million across the UK, which will include the black spot on A470(T) between Llandudno and Cardiff.

We continue to seek to work in collaboration with the Welsh Government on addressing these issues

– Wales Office spokesperson