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Superfast Wales Reaches Half-Way Point with “Fibre Broadband” Rollout

Monday, March 2nd, 2015 (10:08 am) - Score 979

The UK Government’s Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, has revealed that the Superfast Cymru project has now helped an additional 345,000 homes and businesses in Wales to receive BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network, which is roughly half-way to the current completion target of 690,000+ by the end of spring 2016 (96% coverage).

The new figure is up sharply from the 299,876 recorded at the end of 2014 (here) and comes less than a month after BT announced that the total coverage of their FTTC/P network in Wales had reached 1 million homes and businesses (this includes BT’s separate commercial deployment). Some 130,000 of that 1 million total are in Cardiff, with Swansea seeing 90,000.

The Superfast Cymru scheme, which among other investment is supported by £56,930,000 from the central Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, tends to focus on areas where the private sector operators, such as BT and Virgin Media, have struggled to upgrade due to issues of commercial unviability (i.e. too expensive).

Ed Vaizey said (here):

Superfast broadband coverage in Wales has now reached over 1 million premises, over two-thirds of the total in Wales. 345,000 premises have gained coverage as a result of the Superfast Cymru broadband programme which has funding from the UK government, Welsh Government and European funds.”

As we recall the next near-term target for Superfast Cymru is to reach around 480,000 households by Spring 2015. Meanwhile BDUK has already allocated an additional £12.11m for future work beyond spring 2016, which must be matched by the local government and will inevitably extend the network into even more rural areas.

Meanwhile there’s still a big question mark over precisely what proportion of that 96% will actually receive the government’s stated “superfast broadband” speeds of 24Mbps+ (Megabits per second), which is something that we focused on in last year’s article – Let’s Stop Having Different UK Definitions for “Superfast Broadband”.

Officially the Welsh Government will only say that “the majority of homes and businesses will be able to access broadband download speeds in excess of 30Mbps by 2016, with at least 40% of all the premises in the intervention area also benefitting from access to services in excess of 100Mbps“.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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