Welsh Liberal Democrats have condemned the decision by the Conservative UK Government to scale back rural broadband connectivity targets.
In last week’s Spending Review, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak backtracked on the Tory’s previous commitment to make broadband internet available to “every home” by 2025, instead promising 85% coverage by that date. Furthermore, only £1.2 billion of the £5 billion support to operators, such as Openreach, for bringing gigagbit connectivity to rural homes will now be made available before 2021.
Commenting, Jane Dodds said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the disadvantages that households and families with limited or no access to the internet face in accessing education, economic opportunities, public services and vital support at times of crisis.
“I’ve seen first-hand the challenges that a lack of high-quality broadband causes for our rural communities and this pandemic has brought this issue to the forefront once more.
“Since 2010, the Conservatives have consistently made and broken hollow promises about rural broadband. Conservative MPs made superfast broadband commitments a part of their election campaign just twelve months ago. This will come as a bitter blow to many communities locally.”