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Digital Broadcasting: Wales

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding he plans to allocate to Wales in the next five years in fulfilment of the universal service commitment outlined in the Digital Britain White Paper. (281622)

The Government have allocated £200 million of direct public funding to delivering the broadband universal service commitment. We expect to be able to leverage as much again from private and public sector partners though a well constructed procurement process.

No decisions have yet been taken about spend in specific parts of the UK. The Digital Britain report sets out the priorities for allocation of the funds for meeting the Universal Service Commitment. The Universal Service Commitment core priorities are:

1. Coverage

Broadband coverage of at least 2 Mbps to virtually every household in the UK (in addition, mobile will have a role to play in providing broadband coverage at different speeds).

2. Provision

Those currently unable to receive a service will be given priority.

3. Technology

We should remain technology-neutral and look for the most cost effective means of delivering availability, while maximising wider network benefits (such as using next generation-compatible solutions where possible).

4. Competition

Service competition should, as far as possible, be available across the country.

The procurement design by the Network Design and Procurement Group will determine how these priorities are addressed in practice. We will ensure that the devolved administrations are able to advise the group about need in their nations.