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A minister of the Welsh Assembly government has highlighted plans for a fibre-optic broadband network in the principality, saying that such a development would pave the way for business growth.

Speaking at the Daily Post's Achievement Wales Business Awards 2008, deputy first minister and minister for the economy and transport, Ieuan Wyn Jones, cited the provision of high-speed broadband to businesses as aiding the economy.

He said: "The Assembly government is enhancing the economic infrastructure, with projects such as the £30m FibreSpeed project providing a fibre-optic network equipping up to 14 strategic business parks with advanced, high-speed broadband services.

"By these and other measures, I believe that the Assembly government can play its full part in helping many more businesses to start, to grow and to flourish in Wales."

In terms of Welsh households, an Ofcom report published in May found that 51 per cent of rural residences have broadband, in comparison to 43 per cent of those in urban areas - the biggest disparity between urban and rural areas in the UK.

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