Former BT Head Criticises Welsh Superfast Broadband Rollout

Apr 16, 2014

John Davies, ex-head of BT Wales, has claimed more marketing money should have been spent to encourage adoption of superfast broadband in the Principality.

His statements follow the fact that there has only been a 19% uptake of high Internet speeds in eligible areas as part of the £425m Superfast Cymru project.

According to UK press reports, £300,000 of the total £425m budget has been spent on advertising the new service.

Davies, now the chair of the Welsh advisory committee for communications regulator Ofcom, said he does not doubt that many have taken up new services or the benefits now available - but he worries that the advantages could be seen faster than they currently are.

In response, the Welsh government claimed that the project is only in the early stages and therefore take-up is at the rate it expected at this stage.

Despite this, Davies still argued that more money needs to be spent on marketing the scheme, although it is only early days.

With more people on board, more people can enjoy the benefits high-speed Internet can provide, which Davies claims are especially important for small companies.

“For small and medium sized businesses, it gives them an opportunity to compete on equal terms with businesses elsewhere in the UK and the world and on the back of that they should be able to cut their costs and increase their revenues,” he claimed.

Speedy Broadband Projects Across The UK

The Superfast Cymru programme is the Welsh counterpart to the Superfast Britain scheme. It aims to see 96% of homes and businesses in Wales with access to high-speed Internet by 2016.

Despite the deadline creeping nearer, only 150,000 of the targeted 700,000 premises have access to the improved broadband.

The Welsh project is not alone in its problems, as the English rollout has recently been criticised for awarding the contracts to a sole supplier.




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