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Wales to Prioritise Superfast Broadband in the Powys Local Growth Zone

Thursday, November 8th, 2012 (10:07 am) - Score 2,139

The Welsh Government (WG) has announced that its £425m Next Generation Broadband Wales project will prioritise faster internet connectivity to the Powys Local Growth Zone (PLGZ), albeit only after the country’s seven Enterprise Zones have received similar treatment.

The PLGZ was first mooted in February 2011 and is intended to be an alternative model to Enterprise Zones. The latter of which is typically focused on predominantly urban areas “of the highest need” and is designed to boost growth by imposing simplified planning rules, access to superfast broadband ISP connections and tax breaks within the related area.

By contrast the PLGZ applies a similar set of benefits to support jobs and economic growth in small towns and rural communities.

The Four PLGZ Selected Areas

* The Severn Valley (Welshpool / Newtown / Llanidloes)
* Rhayader / Llandrindod Wells / Builth Wells
* Brecon / Bronllys / Talgarth
* Ystradgynlais

Areas inside the PLGZ can expect to receive “high-speed broadband” and WiFi services, not to mention “consistent mobile phone coverage” (3G / 4G services) and a range of other economic and or physical infrastructure benefits.

Welsh Business Minister, Edwina Hart, said, “the pilot project [in Llandrindod] is vitally important, as it will give us a valuable insight into what we can achieve in our rural market towns“. Apparently officials will factor this new PLGZ priority into the “detailed planning process” and will be working with BT to provide “fibre broadband” to these areas as soon as possible.

The Digital Wales Strategy envisages a roll-out of 30Mbps+ capable superfast broadband ISP services to reach 100% of the country’s businesses by the middle of 2016 and homes by 2020, although BT plans to make related FTTC and FTTP services available to 96% of Welsh homes and businesses by the end of 2015.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Ok – cracking news.
    Well – not quite.
    You see, Edwina Hart has not spoken with ANY ISP currently in that area. BT cannot deliver (and running fibre across the countryside we know wont happen despite the rhetoric) – so how precisely is this going to happen?
    With a department focused not on outcomes but on headlines, the net net will be… well, I would refer any reader to RIBS, or the current BBS.
    Little or no tangible benefit to those supposed to receive the benefit, because the focus is on looking good, not doing good.
    I DESPERATELY want to be wrong.

    • Avatar Bob

      They are good at hot air and spin but that is about all. To date the assembly has delivered almost nothing on Broadband

  2. Avatar telecom engineer

    Well dont worry, my 80meg fttc connection and the neighbouring village which previously had under 500k now getting average 40 meg show you are wrong.
    What was the alternative? Fuji recovering the m4 corridor and a470….
    Best deal going was had, seems many want to talk down projects like wales nga before they start, BT are what? 18 months ahead of shedule and on budget with their own deployment?, with good averages recorded by ofcom for speed. Plus fttp on demand next year for the geeks / business grade users..
    Should we wait for fuji to actually see a bid through, or wait for virgin to infill the 80% of wales they dont cover?
    We will be waiting forever. People need connections asap, waiting for a niche wifi provider or pipe dream network of altnets wont fix the problem.

  3. Avatar Andrew

    Have to agree with niche wifi providers etc still waiting for Russel George and Exwavia to publish the speed test results it collected in August, results to be posted on site http://www.montybroadband.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi Last known public activity of Montybroadband the 23rd August!

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