Lightning-fast broadband rolled out to public buildings across Wales
The UK Government has announced that over 600 public buildings in Wales have been connected to lightning-fast full-fibre broadband following an £11.5m investment.
As part the concept of ‘levelling up’ public services, leisure centres, tourist destinations and youth centres across Wales can now access faster internet speeds.
The Government says that high-speed connections are now up and running in 166 public buildings across Cardiff, Newport, Bridgend, Caerphilly and Pontypool and in more rural areas such as Hengoed, Treharris and Usk.
In the north of Wales 311 public buildings have been upgraded including in Colwyn Bay, Rhuddlan, Rhyl, Llandudno, Wrexham and smaller towns and villages like Betws-y-Coed and Cerrigydrudion.
In Pembrokeshire 68 public buildings have been upgraded, in Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, as have 75 sites in rural areas such as around Welshpool, Bangor and St David’s.
Last year, the scheme was announced to improve connectivity across Wales with up to 234,000 rural premises potentially receiving a broadband upgrade.
In December the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters said that fast and reliable broadband was more important than ever.
“While this area is not devolved to Wales, we are taking action through our Local Broadband Fund and various other schemes to bring better connectivity to some of the hardest to reach parts of Wales,” he said.
“Good quality digital connectivity underpins everything we do digitally and is the foundation to achieving our ambitious Digital strategy for Wales.”
In June 2021 the National Federation of Women’s Institutes in Wales, the CLA, Farmers’ Union of Wales, NFU Cymru and Wales Young Farmers’ Club ran a survey which found that more than 50 % of respondents from rural areas felt that the internet they had access to was not fast and reliable, with Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire particularly poor.
66% in rural areas said that they had been impacted by poor broadband, and only 36% had superfast broadband. In comparison, 67% of respondents in urban areas had superfast broadband.
The battle for good connectivity in Wales has gone on for years and the statement from the UK Government says that the latest development should “incentivise commercial broadband providers to deliver upgrades to surrounding homes and businesses in Wales by allowing them to extend the government-funded gigabit network, which is cheaper and quicker than having to build it from scratch.”
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “This is a significant step that will make so many people’s lives easier in Wales.
“Every day increasingly more public services are being delivered online. The investment of £11.5m from the UK Government to improve connectivity means the public will have better access to these services which will be faster and more efficient.
“And for those who do the vital work in these locations such as GP surgeries, day care centres and libraries – they will notice a transformation which will allow them to deliver their important work with greater ease.”
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