Pioneering project delivers Ultrafast broadband for Welsh rural community
A rural community can now benefit from some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK after pulling together and taking advantage of the Welsh Government’s broadband voucher schemes, as part of a project which is thought to be the first of its kind in Wales.
With internet speeds averaging 4Mbps villagers in Michaelston y Fedw, west of Newport, decided to form a Community Interest Company to bring ultrafast Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband to residents and businesses with an upload and download speed of 1Gbps or 1000Mbps.
The community project has employed contractors to do some of the work, while teams of volunteers have taken part in activities such as digging chambers, fibre splicing, laying out ducts and fitting out the village’s communications hub.
Villagers raised the money required to build the network in the knowledge that once built, the connections would be eligible to be funded by the Welsh Government’s Access Broadband Cymru scheme or Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher once the speeds had been reached. Both schemes are available for premises which cannot currently access superfast broadband.
The village pub, community hall and church are already connected to the ultrafast broadband and work is underway to connect over 175 premises in total in the community.
Leader of the House with responsibility for digital Julie James called into Michaelston y Fedw to see how the villagers pulled together and used the Welsh Government’s voucher schemes.
Julie James said:
“While our programme Superfast Cymru has transformed the digital landscape in Wales, with over nine out of ten premises now able to access superfast broadband as a result compared with just over half when we began, we know there are communities which are not able to access it.
“It’s great to see how the community of Michaelston-y-Fedw have spotted an opportunity to use the Welsh Government’s voucher scheme along with real community spirit to achieve an increase in broadband speed which is a real game-changer. They are now able to benefit from some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK, which is a credit to all those involved in this project.
“Earlier this year I announced proposals to bring faster internet to communities in Wales which were not part of the Superfast Cymru or commercial rollouts, and this includes looking at what communities can do together. I’m pleased to see what has been achieved here, which shows that community power coupled with government support can really make a difference.”
David Schofield a director of the Michaelston y Fedw Internet Community Interest Company said:
“Ultrafast internet is now a reality in Michaelston y Fedw. This has been achieved through a huge amount of effort by local volunteers who have turned out in all weathers to help build our network. Without them, the support of landowners, the village hall, local investors and the Welsh Government grant schemes this would never have got off the ground. We now have internet speeds that are world class, and this makes all the effort worthwhile.”
Caroline Hill and Ben Longman of the Cefn Mably Arms pub said:
“As proprietors of the Cefn Mably Arms public house, we are proud and grateful for the connection to the newly created Michaelston y Fedw Ultrafast Broadband. As a very busy country pub in an era of doing business by the internet, we can spend less time with behind the scenes operational matters such as working with suppliers, banks, marketing etc. With fast upload and download speeds we can spend more time overseeing what really matters about our business, which is being with our customers and staff, ensuring we give the highest standards of service for all our patrons. Similarly, our patrons will enjoy the free high-speed Wi-Fi for all aspects of modern communications whilst enjoying a visit to our pub and village.”
Latest News from
Chief Medical Officer advice on review of lockdown arrangements10/07/2020 16:25:00
Advice provided to Welsh Ministers on lockdown restrictions by Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Wales.
Coronavirus restrictions relaxed further to support tourism and leisure sectors in Wales10/07/2020 15:15:00
Hairdressers, barbers and most indoor tourist attractions will reopen on Monday, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced today (Friday 10 July) as he set out further measures to lift Wales’ coronavirus restrictions.
Education Minister announces ‘back to school’ plans for September10/07/2020 09:05:00
Decision backed with £29 million to recruit, recover and raise standards.
Sustainable Farming to remain at heart of future Welsh agriculture support09/07/2020 16:05:00
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, yesterday confirmed Sustainable Farming will remain at the heart of future Welsh agriculture support.
Education Minister welcomes rise in university applications from the most deprived areas of Wales09/07/2020 15:43:00
Statistics published today by UCAS show a 2% rise in university applications by 18-year-olds from the most deprived areas of Wales.
900 extra teaching staff in plan to “Recruit, recover and raise standards” in Welsh schools09/07/2020 14:05:00
The Welsh Government will provide an additional £29 million to schools to boost support for learners at crucial stages in their education from September.
Economic Resilience Fund provides vital support to large engineering business09/07/2020 09:05:00
The Welsh Government’s bespoke Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) has provided vital support to a key engineering business to help it deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Economy Minister Ken Skates has announced.
“COVID crisis must spell an end to rigid fiscal rules for devolved nations”, finance ministers urge UK government08/07/2020 16:05:00
Finance ministers from the devolved administrations are urging the UK government to ease the financial restrictions imposed on devolved governments so they can better respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
NHS Wales organisations £470m debt written-off to help prepare for COVID-19 recovery08/07/2020 14:05:00
Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has written-off the £470m owed by NHS organisations in Wales so they can focus on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.