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Superfast Broadband

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 27th February 2013.

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Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Conservative, Macclesfield 11:30 am, 27th February 2013

What recent discussions he has had on the roll-out of superfast broadband in Wales.

Photo of David Jones David Jones The Secretary of State for Wales

The Government have demonstrated our commitment to superfast broadband by providing £150 million across the UK to fund super-connected cities including Cardiff and Newport, and almost £57 million to the Welsh Government to ensure that broadband access is available to homes and businesses in the hardest-to-reach parts of Wales.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Conservative, Macclesfield

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that the Government’s aim is to provide a truly modern digital infrastructure that does not leave behind rural communities in Wales—and, for that matter, in Macclesfield?

Photo of David Jones David Jones The Secretary of State for Wales

The Government have allocated £530 million to stimulate commercial investment to roll out high-speed broadband in rural communities and £150 million to improve mobile coverage where signals are poor or non-existent.

Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Substitute Member)

Even though there is a lot of rain in Swansea, the council wants to create a new cloud over Swansea—a wi-fi cloud. Will the Minister meet me and the council to discuss the prospect of super-connectivity for Swansea in the forthcoming Budget, so that the sun continues to shine through the clouds, and we can bathe in the glory of being League cup winners?

Photo of David Jones David Jones The Secretary of State for Wales

I commend Swansea for their wonderful win in the League cup final. The hon. Gentleman knows that I am always happy to meet him. If he would like to contact my office, I will be pleased to do so again.

Photo of Mark Williams Mark Williams Liberal Democrat, Ceredigion

This Government are committed to broadband, but does the Secretary of State share my bewilderment—and that of many of my businesses and farmers in the Ceredigion constituency—at the Welsh Assembly Government’s curious prioritisation, which means that some rural and hard-to-reach areas of Wales will not benefit from broadband initiatives for two years?

Photo of David Jones David Jones The Secretary of State for Wales

It is good to see my hon. Friend speaking up for Ceredigion on Ceredigion day. A number of colleagues have commented on the choice of areas for the first roll-out. Suffice it to say that Broadband Delivery UK is keeping a close watch on how that develops, and I will speak to it on that very issue.

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West

Because of the lack of coverage on main-line televisions, many of us had the great joy at the weekend of watching Swansea’s triumph on broadband. Will the Secretary of State assure us that the future triumphs of Newport County, Cardiff City and Wrexham will be available on broadband?

Photo of David Jones David Jones The Secretary of State for Wales

Yes, indeed—particularly as Wrexham is currently top of the Blue Square league.