Monday, February 13, 2006

Broadband in 39% of Welsh homes
Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 15:03 GMT

The whole of Wales should be broadband enabled in 2006

Two in five people in Wales now have access to broadband internet services, according to a survey.

Research found uptake of the faster connection had grown by 14% over the past year.

There are still 35 telephone exchanges which are unable to provide a broadband service to customers, although they are due to be converted in 2006.

The survey for the Welsh Assembly Government of 5,500 residents found 63% had internet access at home.

A total of 39% used broadband connections to get online.

It also showed an increase in alternative devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), digital televisions and games consoles like the Playstation2 being used to download high-speed data.

Broadband uptake - survey
Vale of Glam - 51%
Newport - 48%
Neath Port Talbot - 46%
Torfaen - 45%
Swansea - 44%
Cardiff - 41%
Monmouthshire - 41%
Flintshire - 40%
Bridgend - 40%
Conwy - 38%
Denbighshire - 38%
Pembrokeshire - 37%
Gwynedd - 36%
Ceredigion - 35%
Rhondda - 35%
Caerphilly - 34%
Wrexham - 33%
Carmarthenshire - 33%
Merthyr Tydfil - 32%
Blaenau Gwent - 31%
Powys - 30%
Anglesey - 29%

BT said in October 2005 that 99.6% of Wales was covered by broadband. Some rural areas, such as Rhiw on the Llyn Peninsula, were still awaiting connection because the company said there were too few customers to make it viable.

The 35 remaining unconnected exchanges should be converted to broadband under the assembly government Broadband Wales regional support programme in 2006.

Powys in particular is affected, with 11 of the unconverted exchanges within the county's borders.


Computer ownership in Wales is now 71%, according to the research.

In January 2005, Cardiff had the highest levels of broadband connection at 41% take-up levels.

Now the Vale of Glamorgan has the highest claimed broadband usage at 51%, followed by Newport at 48% and Neath Port Talbot at 46%.

The lowest three were Blaenau Gwent (31%), Powys (30%) and Anglesey (29%).

Across the UK as a whole, over 50% of homes now have access to broadband. This figure is expected to rise to around 60% by the end of the year.

Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said: "This research provides an accurate outlook on the Welsh broadband arena.

"Broadband availability and uptake is playing a pivotal role in the continued transformation of Wales into a knowledge-driven, innovative, successful and sustainable economic force."

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