Faster broadband speeds for homes and businesses

A project to accelerate the deployment of next generation broadband infrastructure promises to deliver faster services to residential homes and businesses in West Wales and the Welsh Valleys.

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The aim is to install fibre-based access network infrastructure, ensuring that 95 % of all premises in Wales benefit from a significant increase in broadband speeds. In addition, about 80 % of existing SMEs and 80 new enterprises will reap the benefits of improved ICT infrastructure.

The completed network offers homes and businesses access to broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s (megabits per second). It also provides an additional 300 open access infrastructure points across an area of Wales that is most in need of an economic lift. Left to its own devices, it is unlikely that the market would deliver such an investment, which is why there was a genuine need for public sector intervention.

Massive reach

Within the area covered by the project, next generation broadband infrastructure passes by about 544 000 premises. As part of the scheme, an estimated 700 000 km of fibre cable is being laid and 3 000 new fibre broadband cabinets installed. Between 600 and 700 exchanges are being configured for next generation broadband operations. While 100 Mbit/s is the goal for the launch of the new service, there is the potential to provide 1 Gbit/s (gigabits per second) speeds.

In order to ensure customer choice and competition, the network’s wholesale open access services are being offered to third party retail service providers on a non-discriminatory basis. This is an obligation which will be maintained for a minimum of seven years.

Total investment and EU funding

The total investment for the project “Next Generation Broadband Wales” is EUR 210 913 379, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 100 000 000 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. The project falls under the “West Wales and the Valleys ERDF Convergence” Operational Programme, priority “Building the knowledge-based economy”.

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