A Powys councillor has warned the new broadband subsidy could lead to poorer internet speeds for the county.

Councillor Jake Berriman has said the changes to the way a broadband subsidy programme is rolled out could see Powys residents and businesses disadvantaged even further.

“Access to high-speed internet is critical for the economic and social development of rural communities,” said Councillor Berriman. “The lack of adequate broadband infrastructure is a major challenge for residents and businesses in Powys, with many struggling to access basic services and opportunities.”


Councillor Berriman has voiced concerns to central government and has written to the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan MP, asking “that she reconsiders these changes to better reflect the views and needs of our local communities.”

The Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy Programme, part of the UK Government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit programme, aims to deliver high-speed broadband to the hardest to reach areas of the UK that might otherwise not be reached by commercial rollouts.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport currently intends to designate all of mid Wales as a category C area but this classification could potentially exclude many alternative network providers – leaving only the largest providers capable of installing ultrafast broadband.

Whereas other areas of Wales will be in a different category which Councillor Berriman argues will create greater competition for all providers to deliver their full-fibre networks within shorter timeframes.

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 “I believe that competition from alternative network providers will ensure that our residents can access the highest quality services at affordable prices,” said Councillor Berriman.

“Having one provider deliver ultrafast, fibre-based broadband will not serve well our most hard-to-reach residents and businesses, who are already disadvantaged.”

“This potential change will only exacerbate this situation, limiting choice and hindering the deployment of alternative broadband networks that could provide a lifeline to those in need."