Superfast Cymru Announces Next 66 Welsh Towns To Benefit From BDUK Fibre

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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Rural areas in Wales are set to receive a superfast broadband boost from BDUK

More rural communities are set to receive fibre by next summer, with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)-funded Superfast Cymru announcing the next 66 locations to be covered by the project.

Exchanges in Monmouthshire, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Conwy are among those to be added as the Welsh government continues to work towards its target of covering 96 percent of the Welsh population by the time the project comes to an end in Spring 2016.

Once the current rollout is complete, more than 500,000 homes and businesses in Wales will be able to receive fibre, with the technology available to three quarters of all Welsh properties when commercial rollouts are taken into consideration.

Superfast Cymru rollout

Broadhaven South Pembrokeshire WalesThe Welsh government says more locations will be announced in the near future and by the time the rollout is finished, Wales will be one of the best connected countries in the world.

“Superfast Cymru is one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind, bringing fast fibre broadband to areas which otherwise would not receive it,” said Welsh deputy minister for skills and technology Ken Skates. “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 17,500km of optical fibre cable to be laid.”

BT, which has so far won all of the government funding available under the BDUK initiative, says the project is making “great progress” and will connect an average of 5,000 properties from now until the end of March 2015.

“Through this programme we expect to reach close to half a million premises by summer 2015 with a year still to go,” says Ed Hunt, BT programme director for Superfast Cymru. “That’s nearly a third of all homes and businesses in Wales, and three quarters when combined with BT’s own commercial roll-out.

“All exchanges in Wales are in scope of the programme and those not revealed in today’s announcement will be announced in due course.”

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).

BT is also building a public Wi-Fi network in Cardiff as part of another government broadband initiative, the diluted superconnected cities vision. The service will eventually be made available to 1.4 million residents, hundreds of businesses and 19 million visitors to the Welsh capital.

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