The Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed the government's multi-million pound investment in faster broadband for Cardiff and Newport. It says that small businesses will benefit and can decide how best to make use of the internet.
Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach explains to Lynn Courtney why access to high-speed broadband is vital for rural areas and why the lack of it is harming rural businesses.
Cardiff is to be one of ten UK cities to get "superfast" 4G broadband services, according to provider EE.
Average speeds at the moment of between 8Mbps and 12Mbps will rise to 20Mbps.
The service, due to be rolled out in the Summer, is expected to let users surf the web more quickly on mobile phones.
Included in today's 4G spectrum auction results is an obligation for one provider to make sure at least 98% of the UK population can access mobile broadband speeds within five years.
Winning bidder Telefónica UK Ltd won the 800Mhz allocation, which means it will have to cover at least 95% of the population of each of the UK nations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - by the end of 2017.
Ofcom has announced the five phone operators that have won the 4G licenses - permits to run mobile networks at the kind of speed you get from your home broadband.
The winning companies are:
- Everything Everywhere Ltd.
- Hutchison 3G UK Ltd.
- Niche Spectrum Ventures Ltd (a subsidiary of BT Group plc).
- Telefónica UK Ltd.
- Vodafone Ltd.
The First Minister also used his monthly news conference to announce £39 million of investment for improve broadband provision for schools in Wales.
'Teaching and learning in Welsh schools will be transformed' due to the investment, the Welsh Government says. 'The new Leaning in Digital Wales Grant will ensure that learners able to access faster, high-quality broadband services which are both robust and reliable.'
It means an initial £27 million for councils to upgrade internet connections in their schools. Where it's needed, councils will also be able to give primary and special schools £10,000 - and secondary schools £20,000 - to improve ICT infrastructure and purchase ICT hardware.
– Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister
We want Wales to be a world leader in digital learning, therefore we need to be able to offer our schools fast, consistent and reliable broadband services
This investment will ensure that, by 2014, primary and secondary schools in Wales will have access to safe and secure world-class broadband services needed to deliver a world-class digital education.
The grant funding represents a major step forward in changing the way schools use digital technologies, widening access and driving up standards of performance across the board.
The next generation of mobile internet has gone on sale for the first time in Wales. 4G is said to be five times faster than the existing 3G service - which currently drives smartphones.
Cardiff is one of 11 trial sites across the UK. But with many other parts of Wales still struggling to get an internet connection of any sort, our reporer David Wood has been looking at how useful it will be.
Up to 98 percent of Wales' population will be able to receive super-fast 4G mobile broadband coverage by the end of 2017.
The announcement, which will deliver much faster mobile data speeds to phones and other wireless devices, was made by the media regulator, Ofcom today at the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd.
Wales will also have its own national target for mobile broadband coverage to benefit people in rural areas.
Ofcom announced it is to auction the bandwidth with bidding beginning early next year.
The auction will offer the equivalent of three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today – some 80 percent more than released in the 3G auction which took place in 2000.
The Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan says Chancellor’s Budget Statement will continue to support families, business and long-term economic growth. She says it will have a fair and positive impact on Wales and highlighted the capital allowances for the Deeside enterprise zone.
– Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan
We are committed to giving the Welsh Government funds and support to build strong enterprise zones in Wales, making enhanced capital allowances available, starting with Deeside. This will support growth, create jobs and enable funds for machinery investment to be available from 1 April 2012. Subject to receiving strong and robust business cases from the Welsh Government, we will look to agree funding for additional sites in Wales. Funds of up to £12 million have been granted for the already announced Cardiff broadband ‘super-connected city’ project".