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Government rollout takes fibre broadband to Britain's smallest city

Thursday, March 3rd 2016 by Ellen Branagh

Two thirds of homes and businesses in Britain’s smallest city can now access fibre broadband as part of the Superfast Cymru project.

With fewer than 2,000 inhabitants, the city of St David’s in Pembrokeshire is famous for being the final resting place of Wales’ patron saint.

Along with the rest of the county, the area wasn’t due to get superfast broadband as part of private sector rollouts, because it wasn’t commercially viable.

But now 65% of homes and businesses served by the St David’s exchange, and more than 70% in Pembrokeshire as a whole, can get access to superfast broadband as part of the Superfast Cymru programme.

The partnership between the Welsh Government and BT, with extra funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is taking superfast broadband to areas that otherwise wouldn’t get it.

Deputy minister for skills and technology, Julie James, said: “St David’s is one of many areas across Wales which would have no access to superfast broadband without the intervention of Superfast Cymru.

“Faster broadband brings many advantages for homes and businesses and while the rollout is far from over I am pleased that over 65% of them in this beautiful and historic part of Wales can now also benefit.

“We have intervened to provide access to superfast services as private sector companies decided it was not commercially viable for them alone to roll out fibre in these areas.

“Over 560,000 premises in all parts of Wales are now able to access it thanks to the programme and work is continuing to provide access for more homes and businesses.”

The Superfast Cymru programme involves Openreach engineers laying 17,500km of optical fibre cable, installing around 3,000 new green roadside cabinets.

Expanded schemes

On average, the project sees more than 100 households and businesses getting access to superfast broadband across Wales every hour, bosses said.

The Welsh Government has also expanded two schemes to give access to superfast broadband to more people in the country.

The Access Broadband Cymru scheme, which funds or part-funds the installation costs of new connections for homes and businesses in Wales, will be available to every household that doesn't currently have a superfast connection.

A range of technologies are used to deliver faster speeds, including satellite, wireless and 4G, and there will be two levels of funding depending on the speed required – £400 for download speeds of 10Mbps and above and £800 for 30Mbps and above.

At the same time, the Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher – a scheme previously only available to businesses in the Enterprise and Local Growth Zones – is being opened up to businesses across Wales.

The scheme helps them meet the initial capital costs involved in installing ultrafast broadband services, with grants of up to £10,000 available.

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