Jonathan and Adam have called for bolder efforts by the Welsh Government and broadband providers to address the damning conclusions of the cross-party Parliamentary 'British Infrastructure Group' report, titled 'Broadbad 2.0: The case for automatically compensating broadband customers'.
MP Jonathan Edwards is a co-signatory of the report which highlighted widespread and systemic issues with the provision of broadband throughout the UK, but noted that Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is the worst constituency in the UK for broadband download speeds.
Echoing arguments previously made by Mr Edwards for a universal obligation by broadband providers, and following pressure by the UK Government, BT has now guaranteed universal minimum broadband speed of 10 Mb/s. Despite this, the report assessed that as many as 6.7 million – 13,874 Carmarthenshire - broadband connections may fail to receive speeds above 10 Mb/s, and has called for statutory footing to ensure that broadband providers are held accountable to the law in their quality of service and compensation to consumers.
The report has also called for Ofcom to take a more active role in overseeing broadband provision, and in particular, the delivery of compensation to consumers by broadband providers should they fail to meet delivery standards.
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr's, Jonathan Edwards MP said:
"I am deeply disappointed by the findings of the report which have shown a lacklustre approach by broadband providers in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, and indeed across Carmarthenshire. The report clearly outlines how Carmarthenshire is very much in the slow lane when compared with the rest of the UK.
"Underlining this dire record by broadband providers and the Labour Welsh Government is the fact that existing broadband infrastructure programmes often overlook rural communities, where rural broadband connectivity seems of secondary importance in an urban area-dominated rush to meet targets.
"There are mounting challenges for our rural communities here in Carmarthenshire, but also across Wales. Ensuring an equal service obligation and the effective provision of broadband in rural areas will be one step in ensuring that rural communities are able to meet these challenges. Our rural communities must not be punished for their geography in the provision of broadband connectivity."
Assembly Member Adam Price added:
"I support the principle that Ofcom should explore automatically compensating broadband customers who consistently fail to receive the speed they pay for.
"Slow and unreliable broadband connections can leave rural customers and companies at a significant disadvantage. Broadband should be considered an essential service for our rural economies and we will continue to champion this issue over the coming months to ensure that Carmarthenshire can catch up and isn't left behind in future."