Openreach has outlined plans to make ultra-reliable and gigabit-capable full fibre broadband available to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in 45 market towns and villages across Wales.
The new locations, including Aberystwyth, Llanelli, Abergavenny and Bangor will be upgraded by Openreach, without taxpayer subsidy and it’s hoped having access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in Europe will boost their post-covid economic recovery.
Work is expected to get underway in many of the announced locations within the next 12-18 months, although due to the size of the build, some places will see work continue into 2024.The new Welsh locations are part of a wider announcement to make the new technology available to a further 3.2 million premises in the UK’s hardest to reach ‘final third’.i
This follows the recent announcement that Welsh Government is to extend its BDUK contract with Openreach to build fibre broadband to those local authority areas with less than 90 per cent superfast broadband coverage.
The build is at the forefront of a massive £12 billion investment, which will see Openreach’s ambition to build ‘Full Fibre’ infrastructure to 20 million premises throughout the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s – delivering significant economic, social and environmental benefits for rural and urban communities, assuming the right regulatory and political fibre enablers are in place.
The 45 new locations being announced across Wales are:
- Llanelli, Swiss Valley, Dafen
Rhondda Cynon Taf
- Ferndale, Tylorstown, Wattstown
- Mountain Ash, Abercwmboi
- Llantwit Fardre, Beddau, Church Village, Tonteg
- Llantrisant, Pontyclun, Llanharan, Miskin
- Caerphilly, Bedwas, Llanbradach
- Cross Keys
- Rhyl, Kinmel Bay
- Bangor, Penrhos, Garnedd
- Caernarfon, Caeathro, Llanrug
- Conwy, Deganwy, Tywyn
- Colwyn Bay
- Connah’s Quay
Connie Dixon, Openreach’s Partnership Director for Wales, said: “We’ve already upgraded tens of thousands of homes and business across Wales to full fibre. As well as keeping the existing network running throughout the Covid crisis, our engineers have safely and with social distancing in place, continued building the new infrastructure to make sure that as lockdown restrictions ease, our network is there to support families, businesses and the economic recovery.
“I’d encourage everyone to check if they can switch to the new technology, and if you can, get in touch with your broadband provider to find out more about the many benefits.‘Full fibre’ is more reliable and more resilient meaning fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds. It is also ‘future-proof’ to easily meet the growing data demands of future technologies.”
Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said: “While over 95 per cent of premises in Wales can now access superfast broadband we know there is more to do to reach the final premises. We have recently announced an extension to our roll-out with Openreach, focussing on local authority areas with less than 90 per cent coverage. This is alongside our other schemes to fund connectivity solutions for those not in any future roll-out plans. I welcome this announcement by Openreach which will further increase the number of premises which will be able to access full fibre, which has the potential to provide some of the fastest speeds available.”