Gigabit roll-out in Wales exceeds target by 112% 

44,000 homes and businesses in Wales now have fast, full-fibre broadband after completion of four-year project in partnership with Openreach – which had a target of 39,000 

The ambitious project has also been completed under its original budget of £57m, funded through a combination of Welsh government and EU funding, investment from Openreach and support from the UK government. 

Picton Castle, photo by Chris Shipton

Given that life and work is increasingly conducted online and in the digital sphere, the improved connectivity will make a huge difference to people across Wales. Faster downloads and smoother streaming are enabled by the gigabit-capable speeds of ‘fibre to the premises’ tech. 

Full fibre broadband has been deployed at scale across some of the most rural parts of Wales, and 33 apprentices were recruited to support build and delivery. 

Among the thousands to benefit from the rollout programme is Grade I listed Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire, which was connected with full fibre broadband from the exchange in nearby Haverfordwest earlier this year. In the short term, this will enhance connectivity and security at the popular tourist attraction. The aim is to use the tech to improve visitor experiences in future. 

Dr Rhiannon Talbot-English, Director at Picton Castle, says: ‘The rollout of full fibre has been a significant enhancement for our business. Prior to this connection the slow internet upload and download speeds we had meant that the range of options for improving our efficiency, cyber-security and basic business were limited. 

‘Our internet-based payment devices, website and email would often be overwhelmed due to the poor connectivity. This new connection has been a significant leap forward for us.’ 

Vaughan Gething, Minister for the Economy, adds: ‘Covid-19 has changed the way we live, work, travel and socialise which means a fast and reliable broadband connection is more important than ever – regardless of where in the country you’re based. 

‘While broadband isn’t devolved, we wanted to support communities where commercial companies had no plans to install full fibre broadband infrastructure and improve connectivity across all parts of Wales.  

‘When we started this journey in 2019, under 7% of properties in Wales could access full fibre broadband. Now I’m delighted that thanks to a combination of public and commercially funded rollouts, more than half of all homes and businesses can live, work or study with gigabit capable speeds.’ 

Kim Mears, Chai of Wales Board at Openreach, says: ‘Nobody is building full fibre broadband across Wales faster or wider than Openreach. Both in terms of our commercial investment and the work we’ve done in partnership with the Welsh Government. 

‘Our ultrafast full fibre network is helping bridge the digital divide, open new markets to businesses, bring significant economic boost to local economies and help families live, work and play. We’re extremely proud of the work our local engineers are doing up and down the country in both urban and rural parts of Wales and our partnership with Welsh Government is a great example of how business and Government can successfully work together for the benefit of Wales.’ 

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