A CAMPAIGN to showcase the benefits of superfast broadband in Newport will be launched by the Welsh Government today.
The initiative aims to outline how the technology is changing the way people work, learn and connect with friends and families.
Most households in Newport now have access to superfast broadband, which allows multiple devices to stream films, download music or use other programmes without the connection being disrupted.
Access to cloud services allows instant access to data back-ups, making security and upgrades much easier for users.
Organisers will be working with libraries, school and community centres in the city to raise awareness of what is possible through using the hi-tech broadband.
Households and businesses in Newport wanting to take advantage of the benefits of fast fibre broadband should contact an internet service provider (ISP) of their choice to place an order.
While most of the region can now access faster broadband should they wish, a small percentage of premises are still unable to access the service.
Those not yet able to receive superfast broadband may be able to through the Welsh Government’s Access Broadband Cymru Scheme, which provides grant funding to access the service through other means.
Assistance is readily available from the Welsh Government, which launched a similar campaign in Monmouthshire last month, through its website or its broadband team.
Julie James, minister for skills and science, said that superfast broadband has become “crucial” for homes and reinforces the government’s commitment to bringing faster internet speeds across Wales.
“Improving our digital infrastructure is key to driving economic growth, supporting public services and helping people communicate,” the minister said.
“Faster broadband speeds are enabling families and individuals to carry out their activities with greater speed and efficiency than ever before, and on multiple devices.
“This includes activities such as downloading large learning resources for children, managing bank accounts, shopping for groceries, paying household bills or using video services such as Skype – to name a few.
“We want as many people as possible to realise these benefits, and this campaign aims to showcase how the technology is impacting thousands of lives in communities across Wales.”
WORCESTER-based wireless broadband specialist, Airband was shortlisted for the highly regarded Internet Service Providers Association 2017 awards. The awards follow the shake-up of the broadband industry by Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report in December 2016, which slammed major suppliers including BT. Since then Airband, along with other smaller independent suppliers, has been steadily building up its presence with a string of key projects across rural Devon, the South West and Wales.
Airband specialises in delivering better broadband connections for hard-to-reach and rural areas and bridging the gap between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. The firm’s work on a ?4.6m scheme in Dartmoor and Exmoor national park and a series of ?multi-million schemes across the South West earmarked its place as a finalist in the awards. Airband recently won the tender for the Superfast Cymru Infill Project contract from the Welsh government to supply business premises in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.
Initially, the firm is contracted to provide high speed broadband to 2,000 businesses as part of an estimated ?19m expansion to the original Superfast Cymru scheme.
“Poor broadband and low speed problems are just as real for many out-of-town industrial parks, as they are for rural farms and businesses,” said Airband founder and director Redmond Peel.
“In these areas, traditional fibre broadband deals are often slower and more restrictive – but it’s possible to bypass the fibre system and end up with some of the UK’s fastest broadband speeds,” he said.
Almost half of broadband connections across Pembrokeshire and West Carmarthenshire aren’t getting the proposed minimum broadband download speed. New figures have been released as part of a new report, entitled “Broadband 2.0”, which is backed by a group of 57 cross-party MPs known as the British Infrastructure Group. Led by former Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps, they’re now calling on communications regulator Ofcom to compensate families across the UK, who do not get the internet speeds they pay for.
The proposed minimum download speed is ten megabits per second (Mb/s), a figure that just over 47% of broadband connections across the county are failing to meet. The report breaks the findings down by constituency. In Preseli Pembrokeshire, over 11,000 broadband connections aren’t meeting that standard, making it the ninth worst performing area in Wales.
Across Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, the situation is worse. Almost half (49.8%) aren’t receiving speeds above the proposed minimum. That puts the constituency as the fourth worst across Wales, and 15th across Britain.
The report has also found what’s being called a ‘worrying lack’ of minimum standards broadband customer services.
They say that none of the major broadband providers that are in a voluntary agreement with Ofcom could provide ‘any clear information’ about their complaints procedures.
The regulator’s said that they “share concerns” on broadband improvement and are taking “firm, wide-ranging action” to protect customers, which includes new plans for automatic compensation and making sure that providers commit to giving “accurate speed information” to customers