Plaid Cymru has gone out on a limb and promised that the whole of Wales will have access to superfast broadband by next year if it wins power at the Welsh Assembly elections.
This is a further promise based on the Superfast Cymru scheme, which originally promised that 96% of properties in Wales would be able to get faster residential and business broadband by this year. The party would ensure that local councils are given funding to support schemes that allow businesses and residents to install and use a superfast broadband connection.
Plaid Cymru also has a plan for establishing a target for rolling out ultrafast broadband services. It aims to ensure that all of Wales has access to the ultrafast services by 2025. Superfast refers to broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps and ultrafast refers to speeds in excess of 100Mbps.
The plans have been criticised by the Welsh Conservatives, who believe that Plaid is unable to clearly define how they are going to pay for this new scheme. Welsh Labour has defended the progress that has already been made in bringing faster broadband services to Wales. All local authority areas have fibre optic services now.
As part of its pledges on broadband services, the Lib Dems plan to hold negotiations with BT to develop a delivery timetable to provide top quality business broadband to all business parks, hospitals, and schools by next year. UKIP did not make a promise on broadband service but simply criticised the Welsh party, saying that the previous performance of Plaid within the assembly had ‘very little effect’.