Fibre Upgrade Work To Start On All Wales BDUK Exchanges By September 2015

The Welsh government says work will soon begin on upgrading every telephone exchange included in the government-funded rollout of superfast broadband in the country by the end of September 2015.

The Superfast Cymru project has already reached 230,000 homes and businesses, bringing fibre to areas that would otherwise be covered by commercial deployments of superfast broadband.

Upon completion, it is expected that 690,000 properties will be connected, ensuring 96 percent of Wales will be able to access superfast broadband.

Wales BDUK deployment

The total cost of the Superfast Cymru project is £425 million. The government has provided £57 million through BDUK, while the Welsh government has invested £58 million and BT’s contribution, including its commercial investment, to the rollout of fibre in Wales is believed to be £220 million. The remainder is being supplied by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Welsh government says superfast broadband will aid both urban and rural businesses, allowing them to operate anywhere and open up new markets, while families will benefit from improved access to government services and online entertainment.

Welsh deputy minister for skills and technology Julia James says the project, which involves the laying of 17,500km of fibre and 3,000 roadside cabinets, is a huge undertaking, with BT calling it the biggest engineering project to take place in the country for a decade.

Biggest engineering project for a decade

“The Superfast Cymru programme is ambitious and challenging, bringing fast fibre broadband across Wales,” she said. “We should not underestimate the sheer scale of it. From Aberdaron in Gwynedd to Skenfrith in Monmouthshire communities will have the option of accessing fast fibre broadband.  This is a tremendous achievement and excellent news for businesses and households.

“Wales will be one of the most highly connected countries in Europe.”

The controversial BDUK scheme has connected more than one million properties across the UK so far, with the government looking at alternative methods to connect even more to superfast broadband services.

BT has won all of the government funding available from the initiative, leading to accusations that it amounts to state aid, while others have accused the company of overcharging for its services and being less than transparent. BT refutes these allegations and says the project is actually going well.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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