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Carmarthenshire Council Approve £55m for Digital Infrastructure

Friday, November 13th, 2020 (8:26 am) - Score 1,680
wales uk future

The Carmarthenshire Council in South West Wales has approved, as part of the wider Swansea Bay City Deal, an investment of £55m to boost digital connectivity in the region, which among other things looks set to help deploy more “full fibre” broadband connectivity and support improvements to mobile networks.

Carmarthenshire is the third largest county in Wales, covering some 2,365 square kilometres, but it’s also somewhat behind other parts of the UK in terms of broadband connectivity. According to Thinkbroadband’s latest data, just 88% of premises currently have access to a “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) ISP service and this drops to just 18% for “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+).

NOTE: Download speeds of 30Mbps+ are currently estimated to cover 96.5% of the UK or 63.5% for 100Mbps+.

The current situation is expected to improve over the next few years, not least thanks to the on-going deployment of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology by Openreach (BT) – under Phase 2 of the Superfast Cymru programme (here) – and Spectrum Internet’s commercial investment to build a similar full fibre network out to 150,000 premises in South Wales (here).

Nevertheless, such projects will still leave a gap in some rural and urban areas, which is where the new investment of £55m could help. We should add that this will be invested across the whole of the Swansea Bay City Deal area, which is made up of Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea.

Trelech councillor, Jean Lewis, said (In Your Area):

“As one who represents a large rural area, I’m delighted by this announcement. I’ve been lobbying consistently for an improved broadband service since I was elected several years ago.

During this pandemic period in particular, technology has become an essential lifeline for most of us. This exciting strategy offers hope for businesses and residents who suffer a very slow connection at present.

It will provide equality opportunities for all the county’s residents and the county council’s leadership is to be commended for their part in ensuring that this will happen.”

At present there’s a significant lack of detail in terms of precisely how or where the money will be invested, but hopefully some solid information on that will surface in the new year. The decision to approve this funding was taken earlier this week and we’ve unearthed the related council documents – here and here.

The Digital Infrastructure project is being funded through £25m City Deal funding, £13.5m public sector funding and £16.5m private sector sending.

Spending Objectives (Digital Infrastructure Project)

• Connected Places; Ensures towns, cities and development zones have access to world class full fibre infrastructure. This will deliver the following spending objectives:

– improve the quality of public service delivery by ensuring all public buildings are digitally connected facilitating improved efficiency and public access to services.

– cost savings to the public sector for digital connectivity.

– stimulation of competition in digital services.

– stimulate inward investment in the region by telecommunications industry and hence improve access to services for residents and businesses.

– deliver economic benefits through the usage of digital infrastructure, notably increased efficiency and enhanced productivity.

• Rural: Facilitate equality of access to broadband services across the region. This will deliver the following spending objectives;

– improve the quality of public service delivery by ensuring communities in remote areas have access to services.

– social cohesion and inclusion across the region to sustain communities.

– stimulate economic growth by enhancing opportunities for employment.

• Next Generation Wireless; Ensure that the region is at the forefront of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) investment and subsequent innovation. This will deliver;

– Inward investment.

– Innovation and ensuring the region is at the forefront of new service roll out and delivery.

– Economic growth.

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Mark Jackson
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.
Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Dougle says:

    Would be nice if they could do something for Newport. WE have a tiny exchange with 22,000 premises that has both g.fast and FTTP but my exchange which is literally the size of our shopping centre serves over 90K and we have no g.fast and no FTTP. But they are 2 miles apart!

    1. Avatar Dougle says:

      Sorry i got that wrong – the first exchange is listed as

      2,274 residential premises
      198 non-residential premises. (has g.fast and FTTP)

      My exchange is

      91,967 residential premises
      1,620 non-residential premises. (has just FTTC)

  2. Avatar The Facts says:

    @D – which exchange is 91,967 residential premises? Big.

  3. Avatar Hilary says:

    Please sort out the Rhandirmwyn and Cilycwm area.

  4. Avatar Louise davies says:

    Heol Smyrna llangain only two miles from carmarthen where internet is dreadful
    Please include this area

  5. Avatar s popplewell says:

    Amazing the ccc can sort so much, shame they don’t do repairs!

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