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Superfast broadband extension will ensure Wales 'doesn't get left behind'

Wednesday, July 8th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The rollout of superfast broadband in Wales is being extended to include a further 42,000 premises.

Superfast Cymru has already given access to fibre broadband to 480,000 homes and businesses not covered by commercial rollouts.

The additional premises are made up of new-builds and those that service providers had planned to connect but were then deemed not financially viable.

Many are in business parks and industrial estates.

The £19m expansion will see the programme run until June 2017 thanks to funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, BT, and the EU.

It will be delivered by BT and fixed wireless broadband provider Airband.

Wales Office minister Alun Cairns said: “This has been a priority for the UK government and we have made significant progress.

“I am very pleased that over 40,000 more premises across Wales will now share in the benefits of superfast broadband – joining the nearly half a million homes and businesses in Wales that our project has already reached.

“The UK government will continue doing all it can to support this ambitious scheme and ensure that Wales doesn’t get left behind in the digital revolution.”

Superfast Cymru and BT are planning to make ‘fibre on demand’ available throughout the majority of Wales.

The business-focused ultrafast broadband technology will be available by the end of the summer.

Work is also continuing to make superfast speeds available to every home and business in Wales using a range of technologies including satellite, wireless and 4G.

'Extraordinary progress'

The Welsh Government's deputy minister for skills and technology, Julie James, said: “We set ourselves the challenge of bringing superfast broadband to parts of Wales where the market would simply never go and we have made extraordinary progress through Superfast Cymru.

She said progress was partly thanks to the efforts of the BT workforce and their sub contractors, adding: “Faster broadband is vital for our businesses and today’s announcements are recognition of that.”

BT director for Wales Ann Beynon added: “This extension to the Superfast Cymru programme, which BT is helping fund, will not only enable us to reach some of the most remote parts of the country, but will also be enabling businesses in suburban areas, who want to, to access some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.

“Every day the internet is touching our lives in new and exciting ways, providing new opportunities to connect and communicate at home and in the workplace, which is why today marks another important development for Wales.”

A spokesperson for Airband said: “We are delighted to have won the tender for the Superfast Cymru Infill Project.

“Airband has an extensive network across Worcestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Powys which delivers superfast broadband to rural communities across these regions.

“We are now looking forward to rolling this out across Wales to improve broadband speeds and accessibility and provide better connectivity for businesses across the country.”

Cable.co.uk reported last week that Airband had won the contract to provide a wireless broadband network to the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks.

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