Digital Connectivity: Hardest-to-reach Premises

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – in the House of Commons at 2:37 pm on 27th June 2022.

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Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

I am in regular contact with other Ministers on this subject, which is very important for rural areas. Through Project Gigabit we are investing £5 billion in better broadband. At the start of 2019, just 7% of Welsh households could get gigabit internet; now 51% can. We are investing a further £1 billion in the shared rural network, which will increase 4G coverage in mid and west Wales from 86% to 97%.

Photo of Ben Lake Ben Lake Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Education), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media & Sport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Health and Social Care), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Housing, Communities & Local Government), Shadow PC Spokesperson (The Constitution and Welsh Affairs)

The Minister will be aware that some 19% of properties in Ceredigion currently receive broadband speeds of under 10 megabits per second. Although there are plans to improve connectivity in a number of these areas, there are other communities in villages such as Plwmp, Brynhoffnant, Blaenporth, Penrhiwllan, Ffostrasol and Rhydlewis that are not currently subject to any plans. How will the Government ensure that such communities will benefit from improved connectivity even when commercial companies have not thus far brought forward any plans?

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

That is a very important observation. I mentioned some of the huge investments that we are making and the pace that things are moving, but we want them to happen even more quickly. I have a lot of respect for the hon. Member, and if he would like to discuss further how we can make the new roll-out go even faster, I would love to do that.