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Superfast Broadband

Volume 559: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2013

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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?