Ofcom’s ‘Communications Market Report for Wales’ highlights major strides in providing broadband connectivity to people in Wales, but a Welsh MP has warned that many businesses in rural Wales are still having to work without broadband access even now in the age of 5G.
Ofcom recorded a 78% increase in broadband penetration in Wales in 2018, with take-up levels, between those living in rural Wales and urban centres, closing significantly.
The research also found Wales to be leading the world in providing wi-fi (wireless local area networks) internet access.
In Wales, the number of adults with broadband at home in 2018 was 82%, compared with just 74% in 2016.
Wales had 293 wi-fi hotspots per million people, compared with 271 in England, 225 in Scotland and 184 in Northern Ireland.
Wales also leads the UK in terms of spending on fixed line telecoms and internet services. The average monthly expenditure on fixed line telecoms in Wales is £29.67, compared to the UK average of £37.75.
In Wales, average monthly internet expenditure is £24.00, compared with the UK average of £29.43.
Chris Davis, the MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, has been rumoured to have criticised the report for omitting to mention the “crumbling lone infrastructure” in rural Wales, where thousands of households and businesses are without broadband.
Approximately 550,000 households across the UK cannot receive broadband because they have a line-sharing technology called DACS.
Mr Williams believes that Wales has more than its fair share of this technology still in place and is calling for Ofcom to investigate the situation. However, he does concede that WIFI access in the south and central regions of Wales have improved and are now on par with most of the UK. Read more on factors that affect WIFI connections.
The MP wants BT to replace the technology as part of its 21st Century Network (21CN) project, which will start in Wales.