Friday, November 12, 2010

Wales - Nationalists complain that Wales is excluded from high speed broadband trials

[newsonnews] Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader and MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Elfyn Llwyd, has accused the UK Government of leaving Wales doubly at a loss as he reveals that the UK government didn’t even factor Wales into any decisions about the future of broadband.

Questions posed by Mr Llwyd amazingly confirm that there were absolutely no mechanisms in place for deciding which regions of the UK should host super-fast broadband Internet pilot schemes. Neither could any government department confirm how many people would actually benefit from the pilots.

Four different parts of the UK were announced as hosts of the pilot projects - none of which are in Wales.

Despite the fact that the Llyn Peninsula in north west Wales was put forward as the recommended choice of the Welsh Assembly Government - it was flatly turned down by the UK Government.

As the local MP Mr Llwyd asked a number of questions regarding the selection process by which the locations were chosen.

Mr Llwyd said: “I wanted to know on what grounds the Llyn Peninsula had been refused funding for a super-fast broadband pilot, an investment of between £5million and £10million, which would have made a massive difference to the infrastructure of the area.

“I was told by the department of Business, Innovation and Skills that Llyn had failed to meet the necessary criteria - but when I probed deeper they admitted to me that they hadn’t actually carried out any sort of proper assessment.

“What sort of organisation makes its decisions not on evidence and hard fact but on guesswork and subjective assumptions?

“The department hasn’t even bothered to speak to the Minister in Wales about why the Llyn Peninsula would have made an excellent choice.

“The UK Government likes talking about investments in internet infrastructure, but when asked, they have no idea how many households will benefit.

“Incidentally, we have lost out doubly in Wales because the money that is being used to fund these internet projects was originally intended to be spent on the Welsh media. Now it won’t be spent in Wales at all.

“Ieuan Wyn Jones, the Minister for the Economy and Transport, set out improvements in broadband as a crucial part of our Economic Renewal Plan - but like all infrastructure projects in Wales, Westminster are doing their very best to stop us succeeding.”

Plaid - UK Government Fails to Give Reasons Why Wales Excluded from Broadband Plans

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