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Minister unveils first major milestone for ‘Superfast Cymru’ project

Press Release   •   Feb 22, 2013 00:00 GMT

Homes and businesses in parts of Bangor will be the first to reap benefits; First new apprentices being recruited for North Wales 

Parts of Bangor will be the first in Wales to get high-speed fibre broadband as part of the multi-million pound Superfast Cymru project. 

The project, a partnership between the Welsh Government and BT, will take fibre broadband the length and breadth of Wales, to areas not covered by the private sector’s commercial plans. 
Welsh Government business minister, Edwina Hart today unveiled Superfast Cymru’s first new fibre broadband cabinet. It was installed in High Street, Bangor, and will serve hundreds of homes and businesses in the area. The first of those could be reaping the benefits as early as the spring. 

Further street cabinets are also now being installed in other parts of the city as the roll-out gathers pace. Engineers will ultimately lay around 17,500 kilometres of optical fibre cable and install around 3,000 new fibre broadband cabinets in streets the length and breadth of Wales.

Mrs Hart said: “Today is an important milestone in delivering our commitment to ensure properties across Wales have access to next-generation broadband. 

"Superfast Cymru will transform the broadband landscape across Wales, making this country one of the most connected in Europe. High-speed broadband is essential to ensure households have access to the services and opportunities provided by the latest digital technologies. 

“Access to next-generation broadband is also vital to businesses across Wales, helping them to become more efficient and competitive. This investment demonstrates our commitment to supporting the Welsh economy and investing in the infrastructure it needs to flourish. It is also heartening to see the number of apprentices being employed through this project, providing vital employment opportunities for young people in these difficult economic times." 

Mike Galvin, Openreach managing director of network investment, added: “We have been working closely with the Welsh Government and a huge amount of preparation and planning has gone on to get us to where we are today, to a position where we expect to have the first customers connected as part of Superfast Cymru in the spring. 

“This investment will involve Openreach working in communities throughout Wales to make high speed fibre broadband a reality. It is an exciting time for this country and hugely important for everyone living and working here who needs a fast and reliable broadband service.” 

Bangor is amongst the first eight locations announced by the Welsh Government and BT set to benefit from the partnership, along with Caernarfon, Dolgellau, Menai Bridge, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar. 

BT will be recruiting 100 new apprentices as part of the project. Three have already been appointed for North Wales in the first intake, and another 15 will join the company this spring in the second wave. Further positions will be created as the roll-out continues. 

Superfast Cymru is the largest partnership of its kind in the UK and will help the Welsh Government achieve its aim of taking high speed broadband to 96 per cent of Welsh homes and businesses. 
Fibre broadband provides speeds that are many times faster than those available today with ultra-fast broadband providing an even bigger uplift should businesses require it. 

The high-speed network installed by Openreach will be available on an equal, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services to homes and businesses. 
Further details of the programme, including areas in Wales that are part of the roll-out, are available on the Superfast Cymru website 

Notes to Editors 
The initiative will take the total amount invested in Welsh fibre broadband to around £425 million when BT’s commercial investment is also taken into account. BT is investing approximately £220 million in Welsh fibre broadband with most of that going towards the Superfast Cymru project. The Welsh Government is contributing £58 million and has secured additional funding of £57 million from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and around £90 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

Super-fast fibre optic broadband can be delivered as “fibre to the cabinet” (FTTC) or “fibre to the premises” (FTTP). FTTC is where the fibre connection is from the exchange to the street side cabinet with the remainder of the connection being over copper. FTTC provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps. FTTP is where the fibre connection runs all the way from the exchange to the customer’s premises. This technology offers top download speeds of up to 330Mbps and upload speeds of up to 30Mbps. 
Further information about next generation broadband is available from