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The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) is to continue with a funding scheme geared at helping rural homes and businesses access faster broadband.

Some 2,038 premises have benefited from the principality's Broadband Support Scheme (BSS), but the initiative was scheduled to end in March 2012.

Originally launched in July 2010, the scheme has been extended for a second time, meaning more premises in remote areas can look forward to a £1,000 grant to improve their access to broadband.

A further 232 applications are currently being assessed, with more than a thousand Welsh homes set to benefit should funding be approved.

Welsh Business Minister Edwina Hart said the BSS is filling a real need and making a difference to individuals, businesses and communities, enabling them to participate in the benefits of the digital age.

"Terminating the Broadband Support Scheme in March 2012 could leave a potential gap in our ability to support people with immediate broadband issues," she commented.

"I am therefore pleased to announce we are extending the scheme to provide continuity during the early roll-out of next generation broadband."

Ms Hart said the WAG will continue to review the relevance of the Broadband Support Scheme during this period.

Under UK government plans, every UK community should have access to at least 2Mb broadband by 2015.

The Con-Lib coalition also wants 90 per cent of the population to receive super-fast broadband - speeds in excess of 24Mb - by the middle of the decade.

Central government has allocated £530 million in public funding to assist with the rollout of super-fast broadband in rural areas, but some of the more remote villages and hamlet are unlikely to receive fixed broadband connections.

As such, mobile, wireless or satellite broadband services may be needed to ensure they can access next-generation broadband.

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