Superfast Broadband – an opportunity too good to miss

14/07/2014

I keep getting enquiries from constituents about the progress of the scheme to improve the broadband connection in the area. The ‘Superfast Cymru’ programme, supported by the Welsh and UK governments, the EU andBT, promises to make high speed fibre broadband available to 96% of homes and businesses in Wales by 2016. The engineering work involves upgrading broadband cabinets throughout the country. The programme started here in Arfon, and many towns and villages have already felt the benefit.

What I keep stressing to constituents is that when the nearest broadband cabinet has been upgraded, the service to their property does not improve automatically. For that to happen, you need to contact your broadband service provider to order the new service. A constituent in Upper Llandwrog who has just taken this step is delighted with the improvement to her service. It was revealed recently that only 19% of customers had taken advantage of the upgraded broadband in areas where it had been available for a year.

Although reaching 96% of properties sounds impressive, this is scant consolation to the remaining 4%. Most of these will be in remote rural areas, with a few urban black spots. There may be alternative solutions in these areas, including 4G mobile technology. This is available on the EE network which is investing £82m on its infrastructure in Wales.

At the end of the three-year programme Wales will have a superfast broadband on a par with any in Europe. Superfast Cymru is set totransform our broadband landscape and to promote economic growth and sustainable jobs. This will enable businesses to work faster and more efficiently, with the possibility of creating hundreds of jobs.

Home-based businesses will be among the main beneficiaries. Online learning can open new doors to all members of the family. So if you’re unsure whether the new broadband is available in our area, I suggest you get on to your internet service provider – not necessarily BT. This is an opportunity not to be missed.