Announcement welcomed by Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates
Children from Hirwaun Primary School are leading the celebrations to mark the arrival of high speed fibre broadband in their town, Superfast Cymru announced today.
Joined by Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, the children aged between eight and eleven, will remove the Christmas wrapping to unveil the first cabinet in Hirwaun to be switched on as part of the multi-million pound project.
With further cabinets being switched on in the coming weeks, around 3,300 homes and businesses in the town will have access to the technology once engineers complete the roll-out.
The nearby towns of Abercynon, Ferndale, Mountain Ash and Porth are also scheduled to go live by early next year.
Superfast Cymru, a partnership between Welsh Government and BT, with additional funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), builds on commercial roll-outs of fibre broadband in the country with the Welsh Government’s aim being that 96 per cent of homes and businesses will have access to fibre broadband by the end of the project in Spring 2016.
The Deputy Minister said: “Superfast Cymru continues to make excellent progress in connecting homes and businesses throughout Wales. Hirwaun will today join communities across the country who are already benefiting from fast, reliable broadband.
“High-speed access to the internet is now such an important part of everyday life; whether you are a local entrepreneur who wants to start up or expand your business, a student undertaking online training and research or a householder making use of online shopping and entertainment.
“Superfast Cymru will change the way Wales accesses and uses the internet and I look forward to seeing even further progress as we move into 2014.”
Ann Beynon, BT’s director for Wales, added: “All over Wales, fibre broadband is changing people’s lives. It provides a digital gateway to a wealth of opportunities whether it is supporting how we work, how we learn, how we communicate with friends and family, or how we entertain ourselves.”
Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. In addition to download speeds in excess of 30Mbps, FTTC also delivers upload speeds of up to 20Mbps — and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.
Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in the few minutes it takes to make popcorn; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services.
The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls, or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office.
Openreach will install the fibre network which will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis. Households and businesses will therefore benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices.
Notes to editors
Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations.
The latest images of the Superfast Cymru roll-out are available for download at:http://imagelibrary.btplc.com/assetbank-btplc/action/browseItems?categoryId=597&categoryTypeId=1
About the Welsh Government and Superfast Cymru
The Welsh Government is the devolved Government for Wales. We are working to help improve the lives of people in Wales and make our nation a better place in which to live and work.
The Welsh Government and BT are working in partnership on the 'Superfast Cymru' programme to develop a nationwide superfast broadband infrastructure.
Superfast Cymru will boost commercial roll-out and help the Welsh Government achieve its target to deliver high speed fibre broadband to 96% of homes and businesses in Wales by spring 2016.
Superfast Cymru is set to transform the broadband landscape in Wales and to promote economic growth and sustainable jobs in Wales. We have estimated that up to 2,500 further full times jobs could be created throughout the Welsh economy over time. It will ensure we are at the forefront of the global digital economy and help to champion Wales as a great place to live, work, invest and visit.
About Superfast Britain
Superfast Britain is a UK Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.For further information:https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk