BT and Airband to extend superfast broadband coverage to 42,000 more properties in the country
An additional 42,000 premises across Wales are to benefit from the next phase of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)-funded Superfast Cymru project, which will see superfast broadband delivered to business parks and industrial estates.
BT and fixed wireless provider Airband will carry out the expansion, which is funded by £19 million from BDUK, anticipated funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and additional investment from BT.
The additional properties being targeted have either been built since the first phase of Superfast Cymru commenced or were set to be covered by commercial deployments of fibre but were excluded because they had since been deemed not to be economically viable.
Superfast Cymru, which will now run until 2017, has already connected 480,000 homes and businesses and the scheme is targeting 79 percent coverage upon completion and adoption rates of 50 percent by 2024.
The new deal also includes provisions for ‘fibre on demand’ to the majority of businesses in Wales by the end of the summer
“This has been a priority for the UK Government and we have made significant process,” said Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns. “Access to faster, more reliable broadband has a significant impact on our lives – from the way we shop to the way we communicate, helping businesses to grow and compete in the global market.”
“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,” added Julie James, deputy minister for skills and technology. “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, and only in Wales. Faster broadband is vital for our businesses and today’s announcements are recognition of that.”
Last November, Superfast Cymru connected the most remote location in Wales to the Openreach fibre network using 16 kilometres of overhead cable.
However, research suggests Welsh businesses are less than satisfied by their broadband than other parts of the UK. A survey of IT Decision Makers by fibre to the premise (FTTP) network provider CityFibre found that 65 percent of respondents felt their broadband was worse than England, Scotland or Northern Ireland while 23 percent felt it was equal to the other UK nations.
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