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Funding boost to support gigabit broadband in Cardiff

Cardiff Council’s aim to enable all premises in the city to access fast, reliable broadband has received a major funding boost from the Welsh Government.

The city has been successful in its bid for more than £7.7m over the next three years from the government’s Local Broadband Fund, which was set up to help local authorities and social enterprises throughout Wales address connectivity issues in their communities.

The latest funding boost is targeted at four projects across the country but the council’s ‘Cardiff – y Rhai Olaf’ scheme has received by far the largest share of the money.

The scheme initially targets 1,219 properties across Cardiff that the council has identified as unable to achieve speeds of 30Mbps, with some sites receiving as low as 2Mbps, and are not in other planned commercial roll-outs. Some sites are clustered, making the project quicker to deliver, while some are isolated sites that are more difficult to address. Properties that are considered to be high in the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation have been given priority.

The fund also provides a major boost for businesses across the city as it bids to be seen as a hub for creative industries. The roll-out of high-speed broadband is expected to plug gaps where connectivity has been poor in the past and some commercial premises are considered unviable for high-tech businesses

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment & Development, Cllr Russell Goodway, said: “We’re delighted that the Welsh Government has invested £7.7m to help us deliver gigabit-capable broadband to these premises in the city.

“We feel it’s vital that everyone across the city, especially people in isolated and deprived areas that are as poorly served as remote parts of Wales, have the same digital opportunities that many of us take for granted. Furthermore, the pandemic saw a dramatic increase in the use of online services from retail and media streaming services, to keeping us connected to our loved ones.

“The importance of first-class fibre connectivity cannot be underestimated and this funding will help us ensure future-proof connectivity is available.”

Lee Waters, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said: Fast and reliable broadband is 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.

“Broadband is a key utility and we’ll continue to support all efforts to boost connections the length and breadth of Wales.”