'Let's create a Welsh Openreach and leave no home or business behind' – Plaid AM

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Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Adam Price has ceased on the decision by regulator, Ofcom to force greater separation between BT and its Openreach division by calling on the Welsh Government to consider the creation of a publicly-owned digital infrastructure company for Wales.

The idea was first promoted by Plaid Cymru in its manifesto for the 2016 National Assembly election. The party committed to exploring a "publicly or mutually owned broadband network, ISP and telecommunications company similar to Euskaltel part-owned by the Basque Government to address poor connectivity in parts of Wales."

The manifesto author, Adam Price AM, suggested the creation of a 'Welsh Openreach' during First Minister's Questions today, with Carwyn Jones stating the Welsh Government was open to the idea.

Mr Price said a joint venture with the private sector on the model adopted by the Basque Government and Euskaltel could ensure "no home or business in Wales is left behind in the roll out of superfast broadband" with the potential for everyone to have "ultrafast broadband within a decade."

Plaid Cymru's Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Business and Finance, Adam Price said:

"Today's announcement by Ofcom is a significant intervention and a clear signal that that the current system is not working.

"It's time to speed up the glacial pace of superfast roll out and create a Welsh Openreach that is able to properly invest in our nation's digital infrastructure.

"Opportunities for a 50/50 joint venture agreement with the private sector - whether a more independent Openreach or with other IT and telecoms companies like Google/Alphabet or Apple – along the lines of that already established by the Basque Government could ensure no home or business in Wales is left behind in the roll out of superfast broadband.

"Indeed, the creation of a Welsh publicly or mutually-owned broadband, ISP and telecommunications company has the potential for everyone to have ultrafast broadband within a decade.

"It's encouraging that the First Minister is open to this idea. We now need ultrafast movement from the Welsh Government to make it happen."

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