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Superfast broadband rollout begins in Snowdonia

Tuesday, March 8th 2016 by Hannah Langston

The first homes and businesses served by the Capel Curig exchange in the heart of Snowdonia can now order superfast broadband.

Over the next few weeks and months more premises in the exchange area will be able to access faster broadband, according to Superfast Cymru who are overseeing the rollout.

Lying in the heart of Snowdonia, on the River Llugwy, Capel Curig is a village with a population of just 226. Before the local BT exchange was upgraded, villagers and those in the surrounding areas could only receive an average broadband speed of 5Mbps.

The arrival of fibre broadband in Snowdonia means that 80% of premises in the county of Conwy can now access the technology. Work is continuing across the county as engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, connect premises every day.

Commenting on the Capel Curig rollout, deputy minister for skills and technology Julie James said: “I am pleased that the very first premises served from the exchange can now access it should they wish to do so.

“Capel Curig is in the heart of Snowdonia, surrounded by the highest peaks in Wales, and the rollout of superfast broadband here was always going to be challenging but it is now happening.”

17,500kms of fibre broadband cable

The Superfast Cymru programme involves Openreach engineers laying 17,500kms of optical fibre cable, installing around 3,000 new green roadside cabinets and sees, on average, more than 100 premises getting access to superfast broadband across Wales every hour.

Homes and businesses that cannot receive superfast broadband through Superfast Cymru can receive grants to receive fast broadband in other ways, such as via satellite connection.

Last week the project announced it had brought fibre broadband to Britain’s smallest city.

The city of St David’s in Pembrokeshire has less than 2,000 inhabitants and 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 Welsh Government has also recently expanded two other nationwide superfast broadband schemes. Access Broadband Cymru, which funds or part-funds the installation costs of new connections, will now be available to every household that doesn't currently have access to superfast broadband.

The Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher scheme was previously only available to businesses in the Enterprise and Local Growth Zones but is now being opened up to businesses across Wales.

Image courtesy of Matt Elliott

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