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Superfast broadband rollout in Gwynedd hits 74%

Tuesday, February 2nd 2016 by Ellen Branagh

Around three quarters of homes and businesses in the Welsh county of Gwynedd can access superfast broadband, it has been announced.

Welsh deputy minister for skills and technology Julie James said like many other counties, Gwynedd wouldn’t have superfast broadband without intervention from the government-led Superfast Cymru programme.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of premises in the county can access faster internet speeds thanks to Superfast Cymru – more than 46,000 premises in the area.

Superfast Cymru is a partnership between the Welsh Government and BT, with funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The programme is bringing superfast broadband speeds to areas that would otherwise not receive it, including Gwynedd, Anglesey, Ceredigion and others.

Ms James said: “With 74% per cent of premises now able to access superfast broadband in the county there are many more businesses which can take advantage of faster internet speeds.

“Like many other counties in Wales, Gwynedd would not have any superfast broadband without the intervention of Superfast Cymru and it is good to see the impact it is having.

“We have intervened to provide access to superfast services because the scale of market failure in Wales is greater than the rest of the UK.

“This technology can make a real difference and help boost the area’s economic prosperity.”

Two businesses making the most of faster internet speeds are Inigo Jones, near Groeslon, and Geosho in Caernarfon.

Inigo Jones Slate Works, established in 1861, previously produced writing slates for schools before moving on to slate electrical panels.

It now creates and sells slate fireplaces, memorials, kitchen worktops and crafts, and also has a shop, café and exhibition space.

Managing director John Lloyd said: “Since the arrival of superfast broadband we have seen savings in time, cost and annoyance – I would say it’s freed up 20% of my time and increased web sales by 5% which is quite significant.”

'New digital era'

He said the company is now able to use cloud-based systems to store and back-up files, as well as provide free wi-fi for visitors which is turn has given its online marketing and social media a boost.

“Over the years we have evolved as a business and the superfast broadband will guide us into the new digital era,” he added.

Geosho, based in Doc Fictoria in Caernarfon, provides people with tools that use location-based information, digital mapping and smartphones, including Geotra, a mobile and web-based public transport information and timetable management system.

Paul Sandham, managing director at Geosho, said: “Superfast means that we are able to develop and process massive amounts of location data and content locally, which is cheaper and more controllable, and then upload this quickly overnight to our servers in Germany.

“It is also a boon in that we are now able to support a larger team of developers on one connection without the need for separate lines.”

Last year the Welsh Government announced a £12.5m five-year programme to make sure Welsh businesses can maximise the benefits of superfast broadband.

Alwen Williams, director for BT Cymru /Wales, said: “Superfast broadband is having a huge impact on the way we live our lives in Wales.”

She said it helped businesses to move, act and trade more quickly and effectively, as seen from Inigo Jones and Geosho.

“When combined with BT’s commercial rollout, we’ve already provided more than 1.24m Welsh homes and businesses with access to high-speed fibre broadband and we look forward to working with our partners to extend this even further across the country,” she said.

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