23 January 2001

Alison Halford (Delyn):

In his role as Policy Co-ordinator for North Wales what action has he taken to ensure that policies designed to encourage inward investment are supported by measures to improve the local transportation and technological infrastructure. (OAQ 8982)

Andrew Davies:

The National Assembly has agreed an outline programme to facilitate the exploitation of spare capacity of the A55 fibre-optic cable network for the benefit of industries and educational establishments in north Wales. This project will facilitate the development of broadband telecommunications in north Wales by making the Assembly’s installations available to the north Wales business community, assisting the Assembly’s policy for reducing exclusion and enhance the sustainable development programme and provide equal opportunity for all industries. On transport, on 11 January, Sue Essex announced a £300 million package of transport investment in Wales over the next five years, supporting local authority integrated transport delivery. The Assembly will continue to enthusiastically promote and support extensive utilisation of advanced information technologies in all sectors. As I said earlier, in terms of new technology, on 17 December 1999 at St Asaph, the First Minister officially launched strand 6 of the Llwybr/Pathway project, which is a telecommunications infrastructure project. That was a substantial investment, with a total cost of £6 million, funded by British Telecom, the Welsh Development Agency and European funds, bringing access to those living and working in Anglesey, Gwynedd,

Alison Halford:

In your role as the new Minister for e-commerce, would you like to visit north Wales to talk to business people? Your advice would be invaluable to them.

Andrew Davies:

I plan to visit north Wales and visit ICT developments. Interesting initiatives have been established, particularly community-based industries. I would also like to look at the possibility of the planned use for the A55 fibre-optic cable network.

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