Wales has the worst level of internet access of any nation in mainland Britain, and increased Welsh Government action is vital to avoid a "bleak picture" for Wales' economic prospects and skill development.
That’s according to the Welsh Conservatives – who have expressed alarm at new figures, which show only 85% of households in Wales have internet access, below the UK average of 89%.
With an increasing number of people across Great Britain using the internet on a daily, or almost daily, basis – at 82% - Labour Ministers have been urged to act to ensure Wales stops lagging behind neighbouring nations, and to do more to stimulate demand.
Russell George AM, Shadow Secretary for the Economy, said:
“Improving internet coverage, and take-up, across Wales is critical to tackling rural isolation, enhancing connectivity and supporting our economic prospects.
“With a higher proportion of households in Wales without internet than any other nation in mainland Britain, it is clear the Welsh Government must do more to avoid a bleak picture developing.
“Sadly, Labour Ministers have failed to stimulate demand, or adequately market the benefits of next generation access. Working with key stakeholders to improve connectivity and promote the benefits of getting online should be key.
“By reforming the planning system for telecommunications, and raising awareness of availability, we need to see a greater commitment from Labour Ministers to ensure Wales does not continue to fall behind the rest of the UK in terms of accessing the World Wide Web.”
Shadow Skills Secretary, Mohammad Asghar AM, added:
“In an increasingly global economy, broadband literacy, and internet proficiency, are pivotal across all sections of society.
“Sadly, we’ve not seen enough action from the Welsh Government to ensure that lower levels of internet access in our nation’s households do not impact upon people’s skill sets or contribute towards a digital divide."