£425m next generation broadband rolled out for Wales
11:20pm Thursday 19th July 2012 in News
A £425 million investment in a major roll-out of next generation broadband has been announced for Wales.
First Minister Carwyn Jones announced the public-private partnership deal with telecommunications giant BT.
The deal will see a new fibre optic network providing next generation broadband services to 98% of homes and business across Wales.
Mr Jones said the scheme would secure thousands of jobs and offer internet users in Wales speeds of up to 330 megabits per second.
He described the package as the biggest of its kind in the UK and one which would see Wales not only catching up in terms of broadband technology but "setting the pace" for the future.
He said: "This is an incredibly important agreement for Wales. Our partnership with BT will see to it that Wales does more than simply catch up with our neighbours - we intend to catch up, overtake and then set the pace that others will strive to match. The project will transform the broadband landscape across Wales and ensure that local businesses can become global businesses. It will ensure that firms remain in Wales and it will also attract a more diverse range of high growth, high value companies to the country across all our key sectors from tourism to high-end manufacturing."
As a result of winning the contract, BT will create 50 new jobs and 100 new apprenticeships. Officials say 320 existing jobs will also be protected and in addition, BT will offer work experience to 900 young people.
The new fibre broadband will provide speeds approximately 15 times faster than those currently available in Wales - with ultra-fast broadband providing faster speeds should businesses need it.
A spokesman said: "Up to 2,500 further full-time jobs could be created throughout the Welsh economy over time. Today's agreement exceeds the target of the UK Government to deliver faster broadband to 90% of the UK population. More than 1.3 million premises in Wales will have access to world class broadband speeds."
The deal is being financed through a mixture of funds from the Welsh Government, UK Government, European Structural Funds and private sector investment.
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