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Government to help communities get broadband

Created on 31/01/2018 @ 13:40
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Communities in Montgomeryshire could soon get together to bring high speed broadband into their homes.

The Welsh Government has announced measures to extend broadband coverage following the end of the Superfast Cymru scheme at the end of 2017.

It details potential for residents and businesses to work together, along with specialist help, to bring fibre broadband to their homes.

The government has also said that it has asked BT Openreach to work for a further two months to connect 2,500 more homes to broadband as part of its original contract.

Last week MyNewtown reported how Montgomeryshire was the fifth slowest constituency in the UK for broadband speeds.

Montgomeryshire AM, Russell George, has also said there are numerous communities, homes and businesses in the area without broadband still.

"The new measures, backed by funding of £80m, include a new rollout scheme currently out to tender which encourages rural delivery, business prioritisation and ultrafast 100Mbps services," said a government statement.

"Under the scheme solutions will be encouraged in areas suffering the lowest download speeds along with lower 4G mobile data coverage. It will include safeguards to ensure communities are kept up to date as far as possible on whether they will be included. 

"Also included in the new measures are a review and continuation of the current voucher schemes for those without access to superfast broadband and ongoing work to develop a parallel community focussed scheme.  A dedicated broadband outreach team will work with clusters of homes or businesses to procure a solution.

"Finally, Openreach will also work an additional two months under the current agreement to connect 2,500 premises at no extra cost to the Welsh Government.  In addition, Openreach has been invited to provide details of structures built but not completed, and the Welsh Government will look at how these can be completed under the existing grant agreement."

Julie James said: “Through Superfast Cymru we have fundamentally altered the broadband landscape in Wales, bringing superfast broadband to areas of Wales that simply would not have been connected. 

“We must not lose sight of the significant achievement that this large scale engineering project represents.  Homes and businesses the length and breadth of Wales are now enjoying the benefits of this investment and accessing digital services.

“Despite the success of Superfast Cymru in transforming broadband connectivity across Wales, there is clearly more work to be done and this Government is committed to taking further action.

“The suite of measures I am announcing today, when taken together, will help us to realise the ambition described in Taking Wales Forward to bring people together digitally by offering fast reliable broadband to every property in Wales.

“Together, the successor scheme, the community scheme and our voucher schemes will provide a comprehensive package of interventions that will help us meet the challenges ahead.”

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