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New fibre-optic broadband services are to be launched across Wales thanks to new funding from the European Union (EU), it has been announced.

Homes and businesses are set to specifically benefit from the proposals, which will see authorities make improvements to both broadband coverage and connection speeds across the country.

The Welsh Assembly government has been given the green light to use the funding, which is usually only set aside for other IT activities, by the European Commission.

Wales' deputy first minister Ieuan Wyn Jones welcomed the agreement between the government and the EU.

He said: "It is vital that people in all parts of Wales gain access to a high-speed internet service, and it is essential that businesses are fully equipped with the right ICT infrastructure to compete successfully in a global market."

News of the proposals has come after BT's plans to introduce fibre-optic broadband across Northern Ireland were welcomed by the country's enterprise minister Arlene Foster.

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