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Internet grant soon to close in Denbighshire

Published date: 18 February 2013 |
Published by: Helen Davies
Read more articles by Helen Davies


 

FEARS have been raised that rural areas will be disadvantaged when an internet grant scheme comes to an end.

Funding of around £1,000 has been available for the past two years for people living in locations where they cannot get broadband.

But the Welsh Government-run grant will no longer be available after this spring.

Rory Mcgough, from IT specialists Catalyst Systems in Denbigh, says the problem is that very few people even knew that money was available in the first place.

“It’s a great scheme,” he said.

“We are starting to get an influx of inquiries from people who weren’t aware of the grant scheme until they heard it was going.

“They’ve got until February 20 to get the paperwork in place and it will come to an end in March.

“It’s such a shame.”

The grant, called the Broadband Support Scheme, provides money for computer-users to have their internet supplied via an alternative method such as satellite if their broadband connectivity is less than 2Mbps.

“Many rural properties are still struggling with the old modem (dial up) technology,” said Rory, who runs Catsat, a part of the Catalyst Systems business which deals specifically with providing satellite internet connections.

“It’s an absolute boost to everybody who has it.”

A spokeswoman for Welsh Government said a new scheme is going to be available, but Rory is concerned it will not serve those in very remote locations.

“Farmers have to process their VAT online so this means those in rural locations such as around Bala and Cerrig are having to travel to a library in town to use the computer,” he said.

“They’re rolling out the fibre broadband but that won’t go to places like this.”

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “Work has already started on the roll-out of the £425m Superfast Cymru programme to deliver fibre broadband to parts of the country not covered by commercial plans.

“It will ensure Wales has access to broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps and help the Welsh Government reach 96 per cent of Welsh homes and businesses.

“More information on a new scheme to help the four per cent hardest-to-reach properties will be available in the spring. As a consequence, the Broadband Support
Scheme will close on March 31.”

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