Following hot on the heels of the news that BT is set to invest in the rollout of modern businesssolutions in 47 separate locations across Scotland, the BBC is now reporting that its other Celtic cousin, Wales, is also set to get a communications boost before the year is out. BT has confirmed that it will invest in 33 communities around Wales in a bid to improve infrastructure and increase online speeds available to businesses and residential properties. No doubt those Welsh companies that operate voice over internet protocol ( ) solutions will be delighted by the news that the country is to receive a broadband makeover. A total of 130,000 premises are expected to benefit from the rollout of the latest technology, and improved performance is predicted to be noticeable by as early as the summer of 2012.
The new investment comes after consistent criticism from Ofcom that some areas of the United Kingdom are currently amongst the worst served in terms of broadband speeds and quality. Ofcom has urged the company to rectify the situation. Further criticism has been received from the Wales Tourism Alliance which has blamed the poor quality broadband service for many Welsh businesses being unable to compete in their chosen market sector. The inference is clearly that some of the businesses are being forced to compete with one hand tied behind their backs.
All this looks set to change when the communications giant introduces copper wire technology later this year. Currently only one quarter of properties and businesses are served by this high speed technology, but it is predicted that this figure will rise to 3 quarters by the end of the year. Among the areas due to benefit from the upgrade are Kidwelly, Aberystwyth, Gilwern, Brecon, Denbigh, Menai Bridge and Treorchy. Maria Battle, senior director of Consumer Focus Wales, said:
“No-one should be unable to access services many people already take for granted just because of where they live. It is also pleasing to see the list of areas includes so many rural and valleys communities where consumers have often been unable to access the best deals and online services.”
It is claimed that the latest BT investment will potentially result in speeds of 20 Mbps for many people in Wales. Interestingly that’s more than twice as fast as the connections enjoyed by the majority of UK residents and companies.