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High-speed broadband is critical for Wales' economic future, the Chairman of BT has claimed.

Sir Mike Rake commented that broadband "has moved on from being a luxury to a necessity", and is now seen as a utility by households and businesses.

"It is clearly absolutely critical for the UK and all of its regions and devolved administrations that we have high-speed broadband available," he stated, as reported by the Western Mail.

Sir Mike claimed that high-speed broadband, along with improved education and skills training can play an important role in safeguarding Wales' future.

Where broadband is concerned, he claimed BT is making a concerted effort to improve the download speeds available to people living in the principality.

Around 80,000 households are being equipped with fibre broadband services every week, Sir Mike noted.

"We're engaged very heavily in Wales, where the topography is obviously a particular challenge," he stated.

"We believe that with access to public funding and working in partnership with the Welsh Assembly, we could cover 90 per cent of the country."

But Sir Mike pointed out that public funding will be needed to bring high-speed services to the 'final mile' of the country.

"The last ten per cent becomes a real challenge, and that is around using other technologies like wireless and satellite," he commented.

"We've already started to deliver, but it's easier in the metropolitan areas than in the country areas."

Earlier this week, the government committed to a further £56.9 million investment in super-fast broadband for Wales.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the allocation, which comes as part of the coalition's £530 million broadband investment fund.

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