HUNDREDS of residents in Aberconwy could be eligible for faster broadband.

BT is expected to write to about 375 homes and businesses across the area to explain that they may be eligible to get a faster broadband connection under a new Universal Service Obligation.

Since March last year every home and business in Aberconwy has had a legal right to request that BT delivers a ‘decent’ broadband service under the new Universal Service Obligation for Broadband.

This is defined in law as a service with a download speed of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps.

Ofcom estimates that only around 0.5 per cent of all premises in the UK, about 167,000 in total, cannot access decent broadband despite the widespread availability of super-fast broadband and wireless solutions. It is these remaining premises that are eligible for the USO.

Janet Finch-Saunders, MS for Aberconwy, welcomed the possibility of faster broadband being rolled out across the area.

“A reliable broadband connection can play a significant role in community regeneration, especially as more of our lives have moved online,” she said.

“Statistics show that 40 per cent of rural businesses made at least half of their purchases online in 2019, with 81 per cent of rural SMEs now operating a website to increase trade.

“As working from home becomes a trend that shows no sign of abating, I welcome the news that BT is writing to many of my constituents and several local businesses to explain that they may be eligible to get a faster broadband connection under the new Universal Service Obligation.

“However, as industry officials have made plain in our continued discussions on the matter, delivering upgraded connectivity to hard-to-reach locations is often a major civil engineering challenge with high excess costs. In spite of this, I remain committed to finding a solution that benefits all concerned.

“With this in mind, I have begun a process of questioning the Welsh Government on the conversations that they are having with industry and Government partners to ensure that this issue is being properly considered.”