Deputy Minister sees testing of Superfast Broadband programme

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates today joined engineers who test and verify the roll-out of the Superfast Cymru programme, which is delivering fast fibre broadband across Wales.

Superfast Cymru, a partnership between the Welsh Government and BT, with additional funding from Broadband Delivery UK and the EU, is an ambitious programme bringing superfast broadband to areas not covered by commercial roll-out and which otherwise would not receive it.

It is a huge undertaking laying 17,500kms of optical fibre cable and installing around 3,000 new green roadside cabinets across Wales. When combined with commercial roll-outs it will see 96 per cent of premises across Wales having access to fibre broadband services

As the roll-out progresses the Welsh Government carries out detailed tests to verify the number of premises which can access superfast broadband and the average potential speed for those areas. In addition BT will only be reimbursed for those premises which have the potential to receive a fast fibre speed of more than 24Mbps. Tests to date have shown an average potential download speed of 61 mbps in the areas which have already been connected.

The Deputy Minister joined engineers in Llansamlet, Swansea, who were carrying out tests on a cabinet which can now provide superfast broadband.

The Deputy Minister said: “Superfast Cymru is a huge undertaking and is one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind. More than half of premises in Wales are not covered by the commercial roll-out which means there is a huge job to do in bringing fast fibre broadband to those areas.

“The programme is progressing well. As well as the huge engineering task of installing superfast broadband, which is carried out by BT, the Welsh Government checks and verifies the average speed of the broadband delivered and the number of premises which can receive it.

“This is an important task, ensuring we know the programme is delivering and on-track. It also means we get best value for money by only paying for those premises which can achieve superfast speeds.

“By the end of the Superfast Cymru programme in 2016, when combined with the commercial roll-out, 96 per cent of premises in Wales will have access to fast fibre broadband making Wales one of the most connected countries in the world.”

Ed Hunt, BT’s Programme Director for Superfast Cymru said, “We welcome Welsh Government’s rigorous testing and verification. It’s a great safeguard for the public purse as it means BT is only reimbursed for work completed, without profit, for premises that are able to receive speeds at a minimum of 24Mbps”.

“We’re currently achieving well in excess of our speed obligations and right on track to complete the programme in spring 2016”.

Fast fibre broadband is not provided automatically to premises in enabled areas. Households and businesses who want superfast speeds need to contact an internet service provider (ISP) to sing up to receive fast fibre. There are several ISPs offering fibre broadband in Wales so customers can shop around and choose the package that is best for them. If they choose not to upgrade to fibre broadband, they will be able to continue using their existing broadband service.

For full details of the benefits of fast fibre broadband, how to register for updates on when it’s coming to an area and how to access it visit the Superfast Cymru website: www.superfast-cymru.com. It also includes a section which provides detail on the testing and verification process: http://www.superfast-cymru.com/testing-and-verification

The latest images of the Superfast Cymru roll-out are available for download at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/107803477@N08/sets/72157644203054472/

About the Welsh Government and Superfast Cymru
The Welsh Government is the devolved Government for Wales. We are working to help improve the lives of people in Wales and make our nation a better place in which to live and work.
The Welsh Government and BT are working in partnership on the 'Superfast Cymru' programme to develop a nationwide superfast broadband infrastructure.
Superfast Cymru will boost commercial roll-out and help the Welsh Government achieve its target to deliver high speed fibre broadband to 96% of homes and businesses in Wales by 2016.
Superfast Cymru is set to transform the broadband landscape in Wales and to promote economic growth and sustainable jobs in Wales. We have estimated that up to 2,500 further full times jobs could be created throughout the Welsh economy over time. It will ensure we are at the forefront of the global digital economy and help to champion Wales as a great place to live, work, invest and visit.

About Superfast Britain
Superfast Britain is a UK Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services

Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk