Review of superfast broadband scheme announced

Broadband The Superfast Cymru scheme replaces copper lines with fibre cables

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A review into the amount of money being spent on rolling out superfast broadband across Wales has begun.

The Wales Audit Office (WAO) will consider if the investment by the Welsh government is likely to provide the benefits intended.

Around 1,000 businesses and homes will be surveyed as part of the review.

A former head of BT in Wales warned last month Wales was not making the most of the contract to extend high speed broadband coverage.

John Davies, who chairs the Welsh advisory committee for the communications watchdog Ofcom, said more needed to be spent on marketing the £425m project, which is heavily backed with public money.

Take up in areas that have had superfast broadband for a year is 19% with just over £300,000 spent on marketing.

Ministers said take up was where they expected it to be at this stage.

Now the WAO will consider the effectiveness of the Welsh government's strategy, financial planning and management of the scheme, called Superfast Cymru.

Auditors will also assess the programme's contract with BT and how ministers are monitoring and evaluating the scheme.

The Welsh government signed the BT deal, the largest of its kind in the UK, in 2012.

The project aims to ensure that 96% of homes in Wales are covered by 2016 and is seen as vital for Welsh businesses in an increasingly competitive global market.

Welsh ministers are spending £58m on the scheme, with a similar amount coming from the UK government and £90m from European funding.

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