A public consultation has been launched by the Welsh Government regarding plans to bring 30Mbps-capable broadband connectivity to every property in the country, ISPreview reports. The 30-day consultation has begun after the authorities confirmed they are seeking to ensure that every property in Wales has access to ‘fast reliable broadband’ (i.e. at downlink speeds of 30Mbps or more) by 2020.
The development follows on from reports in November last year that the government was planning to back a second broadband rollout project; it is already cooperating with BT infrastructure unit Openreach on the state-aid supported ‘Superfast Cymru’ project, under which fibre-based broadband is being made available to around 95% of Wales (or around 690,000 premises) by the end of this year.
In this latest consultation – which will run until 13 July 2017 – the Welsh Government detailed the number of premises that cannot currently access superfast broadband and those that are not expected to be reached with a commercial rollout in the next three years. Having said there are a total of 98,145 such properties, it proposes to conduct an open procurement process in respect of these. According to the report, the authorities are aiming to issue an Invitation to Tender (ITT) during September 2017, with a contract to be awarded by the end of the year.
Commenting on the matter, Julie James, Welsh Minister for Skills and Science, was cited as saying: ‘The consultation will help us to further refine the list of unconnected premises. The more responses we receive, the more comprehensive the list will be. If there are communities that have an interest in driving their own solutions, I want to hear from them. If there are views on how we should lot the procurement, I want to hear them. If there are views on how we should prioritise or target the funding, I want to hear them.’