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Rural broadband 'notspot' talks

23 July 08 18:53 GMT

Talks aimed at improving access to broadband in remote areas of Powys have been staged at the Royal Welsh Show.

People from the public and private sectors met politicians to discuss long-running concerns about the issue.

Powys council said it was vital people had access to broadband, particularly in remote areas.

BT has said previously that 99% of people can access broadband in Wales and it is working with the assembly government to improve things.

In November last year, regeneration group Mid Wales Partnership said black holes in rural Wales' broadband network were putting the area in danger of falling behind the rest of the UK.

It called for "urgent planning and investment" to improve high-speed internet connection.

'Remote communities'

Michael Jones, chairman of Powys council's board and Welsh Local Government spokesman for rural affairs, said: "In a rural area like Powys, broadband can make a significant difference to both businesses and individuals.

"It is critical that deficiencies are recognised and addressed to ensure people in Powys are able to benefit from this technology."

He added: "As a society we are becoming increasingly dependent on the internet for commerce, but broadband is a key service for social, economic and environmental regeneration.

"It is vital that it is available to local people, particularly across the more remote communities of rural Wales where access to services is more limited."

He urged all organisations to work together to solve the problem in Powys and the rest of rural Wales.

Powys council hosted the meeting, which was arranged in conjunction with the Welsh Local Government Association.

It brought together representatives from the public and private sector as well as politicians, including Brecon and Radnorshire AM Kirsty Williams.

The Welsh Assembly Government says it is working to ease concerns over broadband in blackspot areas.

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