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Rural Wales UK Region of Radnorshire Starts Campaign for Better Broadband

Friday, August 31st, 2012 (10:47 am) - Score 753

The Senior Network Support Officer for Powys County Council (PCC) in Wales, Mark Baylis, has launched the Radnor Broadband Campaign to help bring faster wireless internet (wifi) connectivity to digitally isolated parts of rural Radnorshire.

Apparently Baylis, whom admits to turning off his own local BT line because it was “so poor“, isn’t content to wait several years for the Welsh Government‘s (WG) £425m Next Generation Broadband Wales contract with BT (full details) to improve the region and has instead taken matters into his own hands, which has already won interest from local wireless ISP eXwavia.

Mark Baylis said:

We can’t wait for 2-3 years to catch up, and we can do something about it now. The Welsh Government’s Broadband Support Scheme gives us the opportunity to have good speeds while we are waiting for the ‘grand scheme’ to kick in.

We discussed delivering broadband ourselves around 12 months ago, but it just is not practical. By utilising the Broadband Support Scheme we can get a professional company to deliver what we need.

If people in Radnorshire want decent speeds right now, they need to get in touch as quickly as possible. As soon as we hit the 100 mark we can get the application into the Welsh Government and get the ball rolling – it would be great for us all to be superfast by Christmas!”

The Broadband Support Scheme offers grants worth up to £1000, which helps residents to cover the cost of getting better broadband in areas where only sub-2Mbps speeds are available. Baylis hopes to use this as a means to secure wider coverage of a new wireless and microwave based service in the region.

It’s understood that a target of 100 expressions of interest has already been agreed with eXwavia, which would apparently be needed before an official grant application could be started. Baylis told ISPreview.co.uk that this would initially help to cover Abbycwmhir, Llanddewi, Dolau and Bleddfa.

However, the ultimate aim would be to get a POP installed on the mast at Llandrindod in this first wave, which could place the whole of Radnorshire within “easily accessible” reach. The first application forms for the campaign have already been sent out and Bayliss expects “interest to keep coming in“, which is despite the project receiving no prior media coverage.

Overall Radnorshire is home to a population of around 24,000 people, many of whom could benefit from the campaigns efforts. Local ISP eXwavia intends to give a presentation about its plans for the region on September 27th (7pm) at Llanddewi Ystradenni.

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