South West Wales

Carmarthenshire farmer's frustration over broadband

The Meidrim area
Image caption People in rural areas like Meidrim, Carmarthenshire, can struggle to get fast broadband

Carmarthenshire farmer Geraint Puw has tried, and failed, to get a broadband connection.

Although he lives just over a mile from the village of Meidrim, he has been unable to get a guarantee from BT that he will be able to receive a broadband service.

BT says it will always accept an order for broadband connection if it believes it is feasible to provide one, and will cancel any contract if it cannot provide the service.

The Welsh Assembly Government hopes its recently announced broadband support scheme may help to address the problem.

"BT have told me that if I order a broadband service with them, it will be less than half a meg and that's no use at all to me," said Mr Puw.

He said that would be "far too slow".

"If I go to a shop and buy a bottle of milk I know what I'm buying. Why should people in rural areas put up with a second-rate service?"

BT said it was investing heavily to try and get rid of so-called broadband "not-spots" in communities such as Beulah, Ystrad Meurig and Llanfynydd.

Since 2006, 8,500 premises in Wales have benefited from joint investment by the Welsh Assembly Government and BT.

For some the improvement is too slow, although super-fast speeds of over 40 megabits per second are already being offered in parts of Cardiff.

Under the Welsh Assembly Government initiative, any house or business that cannot get broadband in Wales, or receives a connection which is consistently less than 512kbps, will qualify for financial assistance of £1,000.

Applicants have to provide evidence of their poor broadband connection to accompany their application.

The grant can pay for broadband satellite technology, community wi-fi networks or new fibre optic connections.

Nerys Evans, a Mid and West Wales Plaid Cymru AM who has campaigned for better broadband provision in rural areas, said: "It's clear that there are a significant number of not-spots in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

"It's really important that people who can't get broadband register with this scheme.

"If people don't register, then only BT will know who can't get broadband."

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