A new multi-million pound project gets underway this week that will take fibre broadband to every corner of Wales, including areas not covered by the private sector’s commercial plans.
Superfast Cymru, a partnership between the Welsh Government and BT, has been launched with Bangor in north Wales becoming the first town to benefit from the project.
A new broadband cabinet is being installed in High Street, Bangor, to serve hundreds of homes and businesses in the area – the first of them reaping the benefits as early as the spring.
Further cabinets are now also being installed in other parts of the city as the roll-out gathers pace. Engineers will ultimately lay around 17,500 kilometres of optical fibre cable and install around 3,000 new fibre broadband cabinets in streets in every part of Wales.
“Superfast Cymru will transform the broadband landscape across Wales, making the country one of the most connected countries in Europe,” said Business Minister Edwina Hart, who unveiled the new cabinet in Bangor.
“High-speed broadband is essential to ensure residential properties have access to the services and opportunities provided by digital technologies.
“Access to next-generation broadband is also vital to businesses across Wales, helping them to become more efficient and competitive.
“This investment demonstrates our commitment to supporting the Welsh economy and investing in the infrastructure it needs to flourish. It is also heartening to see the number of apprentices being employed through this project, providing vital employment opportunities for young people in these difficult economic times.”
Mike Galvin, Openreach managing director of network investment, added: “We have been working closely with the Welsh Government and a huge amount of preparation and planning has gone on to get us to where we are today, to a position where we expect to have the first customers connected as part of Superfast Cymru in the spring.
“This investment will involve Openreach working in communities throughout Wales to make high speed fibre broadband a reality. It is an exciting time for this country and hugely important for everyone living and working here who needs a fast and reliable broadband service.”
Bangor is the first eight locations announced by the Welsh Government and BT to benefit from the partnership. The others are Caernarfon, Dolgellau, Menai Bridge, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar.
BT will be recruiting 100 new apprentices as part of the project. Three have already been appointed for North Wales in the first intake, and another 15 will join the company this spring in the second wave. Further positions will be created as the roll-out continues.
Superfast Cymru is the largest partnership of its kind in the UK and will help the Welsh Government achieve its aim of taking high speed broadband to 96 per cent of Welsh homes and businesses.
Fibre broadband provides speeds that are many times faster than those available today with ultra-fast broadband providing an even bigger uplift should businesses require it.
The high-speed network installed by Openreach will be available on an equal, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services to homes and businesses.
Further details of the scheme, including areas in Wales that are part of the roll-out, are available on the Superfast Cymru website.