CEO Comtek Network Systems UK Ltd and chair the DBF

According to Ofcom, in 2020 people in the UK spent £113billion on online shopping. We spend more than 3.5 hours daily on online activities, much more than most European countries.

The pandemic has accelerated our reliance on digital connectivity and the upskilling of the population with the use of various online platforms.

NHS and surgeries are now relying upon online apps for providing consultation and medical advice to their patients.

Many other government and private services are now being provided efficiently online. The country's reliance on digital infrastructure will continue to grow rapidly.

Unfortunately, some of the UK's regions are not keeping up with the pace in demand and have been left behind.

The telecoms companies have predominantly concentrated their investment and deployment of the digital infrastructure within densely populated areas such as cities and large towns, for commercial viability. Rural regions such as North Wales are not attracting large digital infrastructure providers without government support.

Northern Ireland has received well over £200million support from the UK government to deploy Gigabit-Speed broadband. As a result of the UK governments' generous support, Northern Ireland has attracted substantial private sector investment.

The deployment of full fibre optic cable digital infrastructure in Northern Ireland will lead to more investment in 5G gigabit speed (1000 x Megabit speed) wireless by the private sector telecoms providers.

As telecoms infrastructure such as 5G is not devolved to Welsh Government, it remains mainly the responsibility of the UK government.

The UK government has committed to Gigabit Speed broadband to cover all parts of the UK by 2025.

It is believed that 80% of the UK is commercially viable for the private sector to deliver gigabit digital infrastructure.

The UK Government, therefore, has committed £5billion in funds to subsidise the providers to deploy gigabit-speed broadband to hard-to-reach rural communities.

North Wales' digital connectivity infrastructure is sadly well behind the rest of the UK.

There has been hardly any investment by the UK government for the digital infrastructure in North Wales. Without government subsidy and intervention, the private sector will not invest in North Wales.

All our local authorities in North Wales must aggressively fight to demand to receive our fair share of support from the UK government.

We have seven Conservative Members of Parliament. Surely as a united force, they should be able to convince the UK government that North Wales must be treated as a priority?

Historically, North Wales has been treated as an afterthought by the UK and Welsh Governments.

North Wales has great potential to be a region for innovation and an advanced economy. For instance, Bangor University's world-class Data Signal Processing centre, in partnership with the private sector, is developing the world's most advanced high-security innovation to make 5G commercially viable for deployment in rural regions.

This innovation could transform the UK's 5G manufacturing, reducing our reliance on overseas untrusted manufacturers.

Sadly, as expected, the UK government is not prepared to support a great homegrown innovation. This culture of reluctance to support North Wales will not encourage more economic development and is not good for the UK's economy.

North Wales has amazing potential to be the leading region in tidal, solar, wind turbine, hydrogen renewable energy generation and technology.

Without a comprehensive full fibre optic and 5G gigabit-speed digital infrastructure, North Wales' economic and technological progress will be seriously hampered.