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The fact that Wales has fallen behind Cornwall and Northern Ireland on broadband provision is "extremely disturbing", one commentator has claimed.

Writing for the Western Mail, journalist Martin Shipton said it is "almost beyond belief" that the Welsh European Funding Office has failed to secure European money to roll out high-speed broadband.

He said that super-fast broadband is "not simply a technological innovation for computer buffs to get excited about", but a technology which has the capacity to regenerate Welsh industry.

This is particularly the case in rural areas of the principality, Mr Shipton noted.

"All manner of businesses can use what is known more prosaically as next-generation broadband to create new opportunities for themselves, regardless of where they are located," he commented.

"For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, businesses based in rural communities can compete on a level playing field with those centred in cities."

Earlier this month, internet service provider Be Broadband claimed that poor quality internet access is stifling many companies across the UK.

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