Category: Pembrokeshire

Reference Library – Wales – Pembrokeshire Broadband

Tivyside residents have say on next stage of broadband roll-out 0

Tivyside residents have say on next stage of broadband roll-out

BUSINESSES, homes and communities in the Tivyside area have an opportunity to take part in a consultation on the next stage of fast broadband roll-out in Wales. The consultation outlines the premises that cannot currently access superfast broadband and where telecommunications companies have no plans to reach in the next three years. This follows a detailed Open Market Review and discussions with the industry to establish, premises by premises, where the next stage of the roll-out needs to take place.

The Welsh Government’s current Superfast Cymru project continues to make progress. At the end of March, 645,000 premises across Wales had been given access to fast fibre as a result of the programme. BT has confirmed it expects to deliver 30Mbps download speeds to around 690,000 premises before the programme closes at the end of December 2017.

The consultation will inform the next stage of the roll-out to take place in early 2018 in order to reach the final few hard-to-reach premises. It has identified a list of more than 98,000 premises. The roll-out will be backed by a public sector budget of around £80m.

Minister for Skills and Science Julie James said: “I am keen to hear the views of both the telecoms industry and residents and business owners on whether any further premises should be included or whether any premises currently on the list should be excluded. “The consultation will help us to further refine the list of unconnected premises. The more responses we receive, the more comprehensive the list will be. “We have already transformed the situation in Wales through Superfast Cymru. The most recent Ofcom report showed that Wales has the best superfast broadband availability among the devolved nations, with over eight out ten premises with access.

This compares with just over half in 2014. “But the work does not end when Superfast Cymru ends.

We want to reach the final few premises.

There will be further engagement with the industry and key stakeholders over the summer to refine the procurement approach with a view to invite formal tenders to deliver the new project in September with the new project beginning in early 2018. “I am committed to achieving our ambitions to offer fast, reliable broadband to every property in Wales.” To take part in the consultation, which closes on July 13, go to https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/next-generation-access-broadband

Business News Wales Exclusive: How Wales’ Infrastructure Can Support Sustainability of the Welsh Economy 0

Business News Wales Exclusive: How Wales’ Infrastructure Can Support Sustainability of the Welsh Economy

As part of Business News Wales ongoing series, we asked our panel to give their thoughts on Wales’ infrastructure and how it can support sustainability of the Welsh economy. Karen Thomas 1 Head of Business and Corporate Banking | Barclays Major infrastructure schemes hold the key to the long-term success of the Welsh economy. We need a vision and a plan that covers what we should be focusing on to future proof Wales for future generations across the whole of the country.

Ideally the plan should cover not only construction, but also communication, power and education of our future population. It should set out why each individual element looks to support the vision that we have in Wales. Both the Swansea Bay and Cardiff Capital City deals will support the sustainability of the future Welsh economy, whether it be via proposed digital infrastructure or via the planned Metro.  Similar focus points being highlighted in North Wales.

Physical networks that develop economic activity are also important such as the planned electrification of our rail, improved profile of Cardiff Airport or the planned work on the M4 relief road.  The costs and benefits of each though need to be quantified. In terms of social infrastructure, we need to ensure that we continue to develop the Welsh population, who are one of our biggest assets. We need to be able to support the entrepreneurs of the future, who will help to shape new sectors, with skilled labour and with a work force who are digitally advanced and well placed to support a thriving economy. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Elaine Ballard 2 Chief Executive | Taff Housing There are a host of confirmed and potential infrastructure projects in the pipeline for Wales, which has to be good news for the economy.

They range from the Cardiff Metro proposed under the City Deal, to the Swansea Bay lagoon and the 20,000 new homes planned to ease the Housing crisis. This will inevitably mean competition for skilled trades and professional advisors like architects, quantity surveyors and planning specialists. From a strategic point of view, we should already have been gearing up our Universities, colleges and even schools to encourage and support new entrants into the trades and professions needed to deliver these projects.

By creating a home-grown pool of construction skills, we have the best chance of retaining economic benefit in Wales. In the past, companies able to cope with projects of such scale have come from across the border, thus diluting some of the badly needed economic impact in our communities. Housing is an essential part of economic infrastructure that if not always overlooked, seldom gets the recognition it deserves in terms of building a sustainable future for our people and communities.

There are some good lessons to be learned from the social housing sector, which combines a proportion of public funding with commercial mortgages to build new homes. In recognition of the grant received, the Housing Association sector has made strenuous efforts to ensure its spend makes a positive economic contribution. In 2015/2016 housing associations directly spent £1,055m and contributed £1,970m to the economy with 89% remaining in Wales.

This has been achieved through local labour clauses, a requirement to fund an apprentice for every £1m spend, and shared apprenticeship schemes between developers. It would be great to see such community benefit requirements being attached to the upcoming infrastructure projects. The Housing Sector is ready and waiting to share the learning. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Alex Parr 3 Managing Director | Wolfestone With Wales having the lowest economic output per head of any nation or region within the UK the need for improved infrastructure within Wales is crucial to reduce this imbalance.

The two areas I would most be in favour of investing in are improved national rail and road networks linking economic activity across Wales and strengthening Wales digital connections. To have a flourishing global economy access to super speed broadband is essential. Its promising to see that both these areas were addressed in the recent white paper “Building a more prosperous Wales: Infrastructure for a modern economy” which also addresses funding from private and public sources to make sure the cuts in public spending do not affect the timelines of improving these vital improvements. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Douglas Haig 4 Vice Chairman | Residential Landlords Association There is so much that could potentially be happening in Wales at the moment that it could be an exciting time, but it’s long overdue.  Transport to South Wales very much needs improving.  Its connections to the outside world through the airport are poor (both number of routes and actually connectivity which is awful).  The M4 needs some sort of relief road, it’s not a very positive “Welcome to Wales” when you cross the magnificent bridge and immediately get stuck in a traffic jam for an hour.  The Metro desperately needs doing; we have many employees that commute to work from the various valleys and a number of them have to commute for an over an hour to travel just 20 miles, that’s not a good use of time for anyone.

We also need to look at creating longer term employment options.  The lagoons would ensure an expertise is built up in Wales as long as procurement is done appropriately but it is quite specialised.  An area that Wales has potential in is the migration to modular homes, where much more of a property gets built in a factory.  This is much quicker and cheaper to build sections of the property and often can be done to a much higher precision and all done in one place as opposed to various sites around the country.  Investing in this sort of infrastructure could help secure employment in areas that desperately need it. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ David G Thomas 5 Manager | Bridge Innovation Centre This is quite a hard question to answer as so much infrastructure is needed to support business and ensure that our economy remains sustainable. Regretfully there is no magic money tree that will solve the challenges of putting all the infrastructure in place in one go, so I guess that it is a case of priorities. It also depends on where you are as to what infrastructure is needed.  Transport, communications, buildings and good access to skills in the labour market are four priorities that I would see as being at the top of my list.

However, others may have a different view.  As I am Pembrokeshire based and also look to Ireland as part of the market opportunity, then good transport links are essential, the improvements to the road infrastructure on the A40 and A477 have been welcome and do improve travel times, but many would argue that the A40 should be dual carriageway. However, rail links whilst there, are challenging (just check out the travel time to London if you don’t agree).  Also, high speed broadband is gradually creeping into the county, the Enterprise Zone having assisted with that challenge greatly. However, there are rural places where broadband is not delivering anywhere near enough for business.  And one final challenge in Pembrokeshire is office space, there is a big shortage of office quality space for business.

As I say we don’t have a magic money tree, so it won’t improve in one fell swoop, but step changes are happening. The views of David Thomas are his own and do not reflect the policy or otherwise of Pembrokeshire County Council. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Liz Brookes 6 Director | Grapevine Event Management  Wales is a great place to live, work and do business but we need to invest to make our cities great places to live by making them more functionable and accessible. By investing in this we will attract talent to Wales and this will help us grow further.

Better transport connections to, and across, Wales will undoubtedly link to better business opportunities. As already discussed and debated for years in numerous forums; the M4 Relief road should be a priority for road links, lowering the Toll for the Severn crossing, the electrification of Wales’ rail lines and improving road links to all of Wales, would all have an obvious effect on the Welsh Economy if they were actioned quickly. By improving the transport links this will help to increase the attractiveness of Wales as a business destination, we can see this already with the flight to London from Cardiff Airport, a cheaper and quicker service than the train for commuters, this benefits both commuters and businesses alike for the Capital city.

The planned infrastructure investment will have a positive effect on the Welsh economy and will only help to give Wales that competitive edge.  _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Simon Pridham Education Director | Aspire2B Wales’ digital infrastructure is in urgent need of an upgrade, not only to drag it into the 21 st  century but also to ensure it is future proofed. Poor broadband speeds and lack of 4G coverage are already limiting young peoples’ educational opportunities and holding them back from reaching their full potential, which in turn is endangering the future sustainability of the Welsh economy. Until last month, there were still 28 primary schools, including six each in Carmarthenshire and Powys, that suffered from poor broadband connectivity.

We need more investment in our digital infrastructure to ensure our schools, our communities and our small businesses are able to connect and take advantage of the educational and economic benefits of living in a truly digital nation. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Mark Hindmarsh Director | Smart Anchor Ventures Without question infrastructure investment is a catalyst for growth and vital for any modern economy competing on a global stage.  As such Welsh infrastructure both current and future is vital to the country’s long-term economic sustainability and prosperity. Wales needs to be sure to plan, build and maintain infrastructure in a manner fitting for future generations addressing key sectors such as; energy, transport links, digital communications, housing, health and the development of intellectual capital. Infrastructure systems tend to be high-cost investments and therefore it’s imperative to adopt a funding framework to secure maximum private sector investment alongside public sector backing.

Delivering a clearly defined project pipeline within a long-term infrastructure programme will certainly help demonstrate viability and future return on investment. The Swansea Tidal Lagoon project is an excellent example in that it has attracted significant levels of private sector funding and its executive team has an overall vision for its impact, long-term effect and role among the local community and its wider place in Wales and other areas across the United Kingdom. Lack of infrastructure will hinder future welsh prospects especially for businesses that rely on connectivity be it road, rail or digital communications and the lack of progress on major infrastructure projects such as the M4 by-pass to the Brynglass Tunnels and better North/South links frustrate many.

With significant uncertainty over the effects of Brexit on the development and public sector financing of infrastructure projects in Wales it will become ever more important to create “impact” funding models that attract external investment from the private sector. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Graham Leslie Morgan Managing Director | Business Doctors Cardiff Typically, a discussion on infrastructure immediately spins to transport and getting around South Wales and beyond. In 2017 whilst I understand transport in its various facets has a position I firmly believe the primary infrastructure that business owners need to fully embrace is Digital. Over the last decade in particular the connectivity available to business owners has surpassed all expectations and there is no doubt in my mind that the next 10 years will throw up opportunity and I guess threats that most of us cannot even contemplate.

So, what are the key things to look at: Fully functioning website – a shop window for your business and the mechanism through which many customers will assess if they wish to deal with you. More importantly it’s how you get found. I come across many business owners that see a website as a cost rather than an investment and all too often the cheapest solution they opt for does not do them or their products justice.

With technology comes amazing analytics which allow you to dissect your ideal customer and actively target more of the same. The footprint each of us creates is significant and targeted marketing is an economical way to get to the customers you want. Search Engine optimisation will become significantly more relevant.

Youngsters are growing up with devices that give them information on whatever subject they need and if it is a product or service that will make the acquisition on what they find. If your business is not device savvy you are out of the game! Broadband/Cloud – speed is critical.

There are schemes available to help your business improve connectivity and reliability. Please get in touch for some pointers. Speed of response with in some cases large fils is expected and modern businesses need a rapid response mechanism.

Folks look for things when they want them – they do not want to wait for long periods to get information they need. Flexibility on location and access to employees. Different approaches to traditional challenges.

Risk – with digital connectivity comes risks of data loss or different forms of hacking. You absolutely need your protective processes in place and legislation arriving in 2018 will make it financially painful not to protect customer data. In essence, connectivity is global.

You can be delivering products and services across the globe from your bedroom! Digital connectivity is without doubt the key piece of infrastructure you need to have in your three-year plan and that is something I help business owners with. I can guarantee digital infrastructure will be in place long before Road, Rail and other travel scheme’s that are often sighted as the most important aspect to business owners.

To find out more about our panellists or to look back at previous panel debates, click here 7 .

References ^ Karen Thomas (businessnewswales.com) ^ Elaine Ballard (businessnewswales.com) ^ Alex Parr (businessnewswales.com) ^ Douglas Haig (businessnewswales.com) ^ David G Thomas (businessnewswales.com) ^ Liz Brookes (businessnewswales.com) ^ click here (businessnewswales.com)

Pembrokeshire Life Online bloggers, Suzanne Ashworth and Ken Mahoney from Mathry, boost Welsh Government … 0

Pembrokeshire Life Online bloggers, Suzanne Ashworth and Ken Mahoney from Mathry, boost Welsh Government …

A BLOGGER couple from Mathry are getting behind a new campaign to promote the benefits of superfast broadband. Suzanne Ashworth and her partner Ken Mahoney, founders of Pembrokeshire Life Online, are supporting the Welsh Government campaign after experiencing first-hand how a superfast internet service can help connect and create online communities, even in the remotest parts of the county. After moving from Somerset in 2014 the couple started a blog about their move and quickly became an online hit with locals and other families looking to relocate.

With conventional broadband speeds not allowing them upload their picture and video content fast enough, the couple made the switch to superfast as soon as the service became available. “It seems amazing that although we live in a caravan park in such a remote and peaceful part of the world, we’re able to connect with thousands of people and create an online community in our new home,” said Suzanne. “We really wanted to feature videos of local events, audio clips and be able to upload picture galleries and so upgraded to superfast as soon as it came to our area. The difference has been incredible.” With over 84% of the Superfast Cymru roll-out programme complete in Pembrokeshire, the Welsh Government superfast campaign is aiming to promote superfast broadband to residents to demonstrate its benefits and encourage its further use across the county. Welsh Government Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, added: “Faster broadband speeds are enabling people to connect with each other and form online communities with greater speed and efficiency than ever before. “We want as many people as possible to realise these benefits, and this campaign is aiming to showcase how the technology is impacting thousands of lives in communities across Wales.” To find out what broadband is available, people are advised to visit www.gov.wales/broadband.

This also includes information for those not yet able to receive superfast broadband as support may be available through the Welsh Government’s Access Broadband Cymru scheme.