The roll-out of fast fibre broadband in Pembrokeshire is gathering pace as homes and businesses connected to four more exchanges in the county are now able to access it, thanks to the Superfast Cymru programme.
Green roadside cabinets connected to exchanges in Johnston, Milford Haven, Neyland and Pembroke are now able to provide fast fibre broadband.
The first homes and businesses can now access the technology with more premises added as more cabinets become live during the roll-out.
These are in addition to the cabinets served by the Haverfordwest exchange which has been live since April.
Roll out will begin in Newport, Boncath, Cresswell, Crymych, Dinas Cross, Llwyndrain and Moylegrove in March 2015, which is in addition to Tenby and Sandersfoot where exchanges will be live before the end of December 2014.
Superfast Cymru, a partnership between the Welsh Government and BT, is an ambitious programme bringing fast fibre broadband to areas not covered by commercial plans, and which otherwise might not receive it.
It aims to reach, when combined with commercially funded roll-outs, 96 per cent of properties in Wales by the end of Spring 2016, meaning that fibre based broadband will become available to more people more quickly than in other parts of the UK. Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates said: “This is great news for Pembrokeshire. The roll-out of fast fibre broadband is really gathering pace here as these four exchanges are now enabled. Today’s announcement comes on top of the news that Tenby and Saundersfoot exchanges will be providing fast fibre broadband before the end of this year.
“Superfast Cymru is a huge and ambitious programme bringing fast fibre broadband to areas which otherwise would have no access to it. The scale of the programme means that we cannot provide fast fibre to all areas at the same time, but more and more premises are gaining access every day and that includes more and more areas in Pembrokeshire.
“Superfast broadband makes a real difference to businesses and also to households. By the end of the programme Wales will be one of the most connected countries in the world.”
Ann Beynon, BT Director for Wales, said: “We’re delighted to be investing with Welsh Government in this exciting and ambitious project. Our engineers are working very hard to ensure benefit is delivered to West Wales as soon as possible.
“So much of modern life is now lived online, so having access to superfast speeds will bring enormous social benefits to the people of Pembrokeshire. Equally, high speed connectivity is vital for businesses to compete in a global marketplace. By 2016 Pembrokeshire and Wales will have connectivity the envy of Germany, France, Italy and Spain.”
Maudie Hughes, Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire Tourism said: “As more and more business is conducted online, fast fibre broadband is increasingly important.
“The roll out in Pembrokeshire currently is creating opportunities for all types of business to do things differently and add new services to their offer. From enabling online booking for accommodation providers, through to making a good level of WiFi available to visitors, the impact for the leisure, hospitality and tourism industry is great.
“I would encourage as many businesses as possible to get on board with fast fibre broadband as soon as it becomes available - keep an eye out for the labels on cabinets showing that the service is live, then a quick call to your provider to access it is all it takes.”
There will be events later this year and next year in the county to promote the benefits of fast fibre to businesses. This includes a Fibre for Breakfast event held in the Bridge Innovation Centre on September 30 and in the Begelly Arms on March 3.
Households and businesses are not connected to fast fibre broadband automatically.
Customers who want superfast speeds need to contact an internet service provider (ISP) to sign up to receive the technology.There are several ISPs offering fibre broadband in Wales so customers can shop around and choose the package that is best for them. If they choose not to upgrade to fibre broadband, they will be able to continue using their existing broadband service.
For full details of the benefits of fast fibre broadband, how to register for updates on when it’s coming to an area and how to access it visit the Superfast Cymru website: www.superfast-cymru.com