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All homes and businesses in Wales are set to benefit from next-generation fibre optic broadband by the year 2020.

Welsh ministers have claimed that they want to keep the country at the forefront of the global, digital economy by exceeding European internet connectivity targets.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said that Wales would need the new broadband technology if it was to effectively compete with its neighbours.

"To succeed in the modern economy, Wales needs a first-class, globally competitive next-generation broadband network," he said.

Mr Jones noted that the formal procurement process was already underway and all Welsh businesses will have access to fibre optic technology by 2016 - with wholesale fibre optic home broadband packages following suit by 2020.

This would mean Welsh internet users would enjoy connection speeds of at least 30Mb.

Meanwhile, thousands of homes in Northern Ireland are to be connected to the country's super-fast broadband network by the end of 2012.

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