Category: Wales

Reference Library – Wales

Wales’ tech cities: Swansea and Cardiff lead chorus for tech jobs boom 0

Wales’ tech cities: Swansea and Cardiff lead chorus for tech jobs boom

Never mind Brexit, the two Welsh cities of Swansea and Cardiff are putting their tech credentials on the table. Our Celtic cousins in Wales are experiencing something of a tech jobs boom, with 103 new digital start-ups adding to the 117,470 tech workers in Swansea and Cardiff in the past year. Recent arrivals include AI start-up Amplyfi, which received a £400,000 unsecured loan from the Welsh government. ‘Last year, £4.6bn (68pc) of the UK’s tech investment was spent in regions outside the capital’ – RUTH JACOBS The traditional coal and steel industries of Wales were once the bedrock of the Welsh economy.

But now, according to Ruth Jacobs, managing director of Randstad business solutions, Cardiff and Swansea are two of the UK’s fastest-growing tech cities, due to investment in both graduate opportunities and the digital transformation of the country as a whole. Digital investment in the UK’s tech industry was estimated at £6.8bn in 2016. Putting the valleys in Silicon Valley In a recent review of Swansea and Cardiff by Randstad 1 , it was noted that the investment in the region has a symbiotic relationship with the education sector, with input from four major universities: Cardiff University, the University of South Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Swansea University.

Jacobs said the universities provide a steady flow of IT-literate graduates to support the growing industry requirements. Swansea University was ranked 16th in the UK for graduate employment in the recent Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The digital staff requirements 2 in the tech sector are growing overall across the UK, adding to the existing 1.64m tech jobs.

Swansea and Cardiff are on track to becoming the leading tech employees, rivalling nearby Bristol. “Last year, £4.6bn (68pc) of the UK’s tech investment was spent in regions outside the capital,” Jacobs said. “Cardiff and Swansea have 17,470 tech jobs, and last year recorded 103 new tech and digital start-ups, such as Amplyfi, using artificial intelligence for data mining.” In terms of infrastructure, broadband connectivity across Wales is being bolstered as part of a Welsh government scheme to ensure ‘super-fast’ broadband, which will support investments not only in the cities but also across the south-east region. Development Bank of Wales is planning to support Welsh businesses with £1bn funding and unique investment projects such as the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult 3  in Cardiff, launched in 2016. This investment aims to fund innovative regional projects.

On the strength of the Swansea University IT programme, Swansea Bay City Region has secured a £500m deal to turn the area into a digital super-hub. In terms of start-ups, TechHub Swansea 4  provides office space for tech entrepreneurs with networking and lunch-and-learn events as part of the working landscape. Cardiff has similar innovation support, with  Tramshed Tech  5 supporting its co-working community.

Additionally, the ease of booking desk space at the Indycube 6  tech hub, available across Wales, nurtures the community. The Alacrity Foundation 7 ,  Cardiff Start 8 and the launch of  Innovation Point 9 ’s Welsh technology accelerator programme – named ‘Digital Dozen’ – are three programmes all aimed at supporting tech growth. “Swansea and Cardiff have great road and rail links to both London and Bristol,” Jacobs said. “Swansea is three hours by train from London, and Cardiff just over two hours. As a lifestyle choice, both cities are a 30-minute drive from areas of outstanding national beauty like the Gower Peninsula and the Brecon Beacons. “The house prices are also under the UK average, at £185,639,” she added.

References ^ Randstad (www.randstad.co.uk) ^ digital staff requirements (www.randstad.co.uk) ^ Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult (csa.catapult.org.uk) ^ TechHub Swansea (swansea.techhub.com) ^ Tramshed Tech  (tramshedtech.net) ^ Indycube (indycube.cymru) ^ The Alacrity Foundation (www.alacrityfoundation.co.uk) ^ Cardiff Start (cardiffstart.com) ^ Innovation Point (www.innovationpoint.uk)

Thousands of South Gloucestershire residents to benefit from rollout of ultrafast broadband 0

Thousands of South Gloucestershire residents to benefit from rollout of ultrafast broadband

THOUSANDS of people in South Gloucestershire are set to benefit from an ongoing rollout of ultrafast fibre broadband. The new BT service will be provided to even more towns and villages in the region following a successful bid by South Gloucestershire Council for funding totalling £3million.  The investment will bring ultrafast and Next Generation Access broadband to approximately 4,300 homes and businesses in South Gloucestershire by the end of 2018. Communities to benefit in the latest phase of the programme include some rural areas not previously covered by the rollout and remaining communities from the previous two phases.

These include: Almondsbury, Alveston, Aust, Bitton, Bromley Heath, Cold Ashton, Cromhall, Dodington, Downend, Doynton, Falfield,  Frampton Cotterell, Hanham Abbots, Hanham, Hawkesbury, Horton, Iron Acton, Kingswood, Marshfield, Olveston, Patchway, Pilning, Severn Beach, Pucklechurch, Rangeworthy, Rockhampton, Soundwell, Siston, Sodbury, Tormarton, Tortworth,  Westerleigh, Wick, Abson, Wickwar, Winterbourne and Yate. All areas are subject to the standard survey and planning work which will need to be carried out. Cllr John Goddard, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, said: “So far, more than 20,000 homes and businesses have been able to access fibre broadband as part of our rollout across South Gloucestershire. “We have always said that we are committed to providing an improved broadband service to as much of the district as possible and this latest investment could see up to 99 per cent of premises covered when combined with the commercial programme.” Work to provide the service will start later this year with more information on when communities will be able to benefit from the final phase of the rollout publicised in due course.

For more information about broadband in South Gloucestershire visit www.southglos.gov.uk/broadband 1 References ^ www.southglos.gov.uk/broadband (www.southglos.gov.uk)

Ad watchdog urges broadband providers to avoid ‘tit for tat’ complaints 0

Ad watchdog urges broadband providers to avoid ‘tit for tat’ complaints

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has urged broadband providers to avoid making “tit for tat” complaints about competitors. Virgin Media recently complained to the watchdog regarding Sky’s adverts for its broadband services, arguing the claim that they were “super reliable” was misleading. 1 While the ASA upheld the complaint and ordered Sky not to show the ads again in their current form, it believes providers should not rush to make a complaint if they are unhappy about a rival’s advertising. Speaking to BBC News, a spokesman said telecoms providers must try to resolve the matter between themselves first and back up any grievances with evidence they have approached their competitor. “It is a ferociously competitive sector and a lot of scrutiny is given to competitors’ advertising, but we only act when there is a problem under the rules,” the ASA representative said.

The ASA’s recent ruling came shortly after Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk all complained about BT’s recent ads regarding its Smart Hub. 2 Rival providers took issue with the claim that the Smart Hub offered “the UK’s most powerful Wi-Fi signal” capable of reaching “some serious distance”.

The ASA accepted that BT had included qualifying text to back up this statement, but determined that the headline claims were “very broad and would be understood as whole-of-market comparisons”.

References ^ misleading. (www.uswitch.com) ^ Smart Hub. (www.uswitch.com)