Superfast Cymru reaches 275,000 milestone

More than 275,000 premises in Wales can now access superfast broadband thanks to Superfast Cymru, the Welsh Government and BT have announced today [Thursday, 6 November].

This latest landmark has been reached as the programme continues apace towards the Welsh Government’s aim of bringing fast fibre broadband to 96 per cent of premises in Wales by Spring 2016 when combined with commercial roll-outs.

Latest figures show the number of premises now able to access superfast broadband thanks to Superfast Cymru is 276,320.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James will make the announcement during a visit to the social enterprise Antur Waunfawr in Gwynedd, which provides employment and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities in their own community and is already benefiting from superfast broadband as a result of Superfast Cymru.

The roll-out of Superfast Cymru began in Gwynedd in Bangor in 2013 and now more than 60 per cent of premises in the county have the potential to access superfast broadband.

The Deputy Minister said: “With over 275,000 premises now with the potential to access superfast broadband thanks to Superfast Cymru, this ambitious programme has reached a significant milestone. This is great news for those communities which can now access fast fibre broadband and shows that the Superfast Cymru programme is delivering.

“The roll out began in Gwynedd and I am also pleased that over 60 per cent of premises in the county can now access superfast broadband, and it’s good to see how fast broadband has made a difference here in Antur Waunfawr. A great deal of work has been carried out by engineers on the ground, often dealing with difficult terrain and conditions, in order to deliver this.

“That hard work will now continue as we work towards providing 96 per cent of premises with access to fast fibre broadband by 2016.”

Since Antur Waunfawr had superfast broadband in December 2013, download speeds have increased to 65 Mbps which has brought a number of benefits. The organisation is based on three sites and superfast broadband has made it easier for people to work together across the different sites.

They now also have Wi-Fi at the main site which has proved popular with new and existing customers to the café.

Senior Services Manager at Antur Waunfawr Stephen Goodwin said: “Superfast broadband has made a real difference to the way we work. We can now do things faster and more efficiently.”

“It has allowed us to have Wi-Fi on site at Waunfawr and, as a result, we have bought an Ipad for our service users with profound learning disabilities A variety of apps are available now, including some which can improve communication and writing skills, and these have benefited everyone. Wi-Fi has also proved very popular with our customers in the café.”

Ed Hunt, Superfast Cymru Programme Director, said: “Reaching the 275,000 landmark figure is great news and we continue to roll-out out this enormous engineering project on time across Wales.

“We are working in all Local Authority areas of Wales and have connected up many very rural communities such as Rhiw in Gwynedd.

“By the time Superfast Cymru is completed in 2016, Wales will be one of the most connected countries in the world. It is a huge undertaking with 3,000 green roadside cabinets to be installed and around 17,500kms of optical fibre cable to be laid.

“Our rollout is providing all kinds of benefits to the people of Wales, such as improving work life balance through homeworking, on line learning, keeping in touch with friends and relatives using video conferencing applications and accessing public services”.

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

To find out when fibre broadband is coming to your area visit the Superfast Cymru website where information is provided for each postcode area in addition to the expected speed for each property: www.superfast-cymru.com
Superfast Cymru is a partnership between the Welsh Government, UK Government, European Regional Development Fund and BT.

£205m of funding has been provided by Welsh Government, the UK Government and the European Regional Development Fund, with BT contributing a further £220m to deliver fibre across Wales via its commercial roll out and the Superfast Cymru programme.

For information about which exchange areas are already enabled go to the coverage map onhttp://www.superfast-cymru.com/where-and-when

The latest images of the Superfast Cymru roll-out are available for download at:

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.