Superfast broadband to reach 42,000 more premises in Wales

The Superfast Cymru project is to be extended to June 2017 to give an additional 42,000 Welsh premises access to superfast broadband.

It’s far seen around 480,000 premises able to access faster broadband speeds, with 96 per cent of homes and businesses in Wales expected to have benefited by 2016.

The expansion is being made possible thanks to £19m of funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and further expected investment from the EU and BT.

Premises being targeted in the next phase are either new build or were due for roll-out under telecommunications companies’ own plans and have been deemed to be economically unviable.

Also, the project is to work with high-speed wireless specialists Airband to bring superfast broadband to 2,000 more premises in business parks and industrial estates across Wales by Summer 2016.

Julie James, Wales’s deputy minister for skills and technology, said: “We are committed to making Wales a digital nation, and the success of Superfast Cymru so far, which has been backed by Welsh Government funding, is testament to that.

“We set ourselves the challenge of bringing superfast broadband to parts of Wales where the market would simply never go and we have made extraordinary progress through Superfast Cymru. Now we are ahead of the European average.

“To the end of June we have provided superfast broadband to nearly half a million premises, that is around 480,000 that would not be able to receive superfast broadband speeds without our intervention. Progress to date is no small part thanks to the significant efforts of the BT workforce and their sub contractors.

“I am also pleased today to announce the contract with Airband and that BT will make Fibre on Demand available across Wales. Faster broadband is vital for our businesses and today’s announcements are a recognition of that.”

Ann Beynon, BT’s director for Wales, said: “This extension to the Superfast Cymru programme, which BT is helping fund, will not only enable us to reach some of the most remote parts of the country, but will also be enabling businesses in suburban areas, who want to, to access some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.

“Every day the internet is touching our lives in new and exciting ways, providing new opportunities to connect and communicate at home and in the workplace, which is why today marks another important development for Wales.”

Redmond Peel, founding partner at Airband, added: “We are delighted to have won the tender for the Superfast Cymru Infill Project. Airband has an extensive network across Worcestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Powys which delivers superfast broadband to rural communities across these regions.

“We are now looking forward to rolling this out across Wales to improve broadband speeds and accessibility and provide better connectivity for businesses across the country.”

Image credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr