How superfast is your area? Speedy broadband now available to 90% of Welsh premises
Superfast broadband is now reaching nine out ten premises in Wales – transforming the digital landscape despite failing to meet the original 96% target. Since 2014 the increase in access to superfast net speeds has been dramatic for some North Wales counties. In Conwy it went from a shockingly low 5% of premises with access in July 2014 to close to 90% today while in Denbighshire it went from 38% to 81% over the same period.
Every county now has between 80% and 90% access rates (Source: thinkbroadband) – although this remains below the 96% target originally set by the Welsh Government under Superfast Cymru.
This improvement has been crucial for the digital economy – opening up opportunities for businesses and making the area more attractive for hi-tech firms looking to relocate. Percentage of premises able to access fast broadband. Source: thinkbroadband
- Conwy: 88%(5% in 2014)
- Gwynedd: 81% (57%)
- Denbighshire: 81% (38%)
- Anglesey: 80% (58%)
- Flintshire: 89% (77%)
- Wrexham 90% (52%)
Paul Roberts, who founded tech firms Stockomendation and Risc IT Solutions in Llandudno, said the expansion in net speeds was creating opportunities.
We can compete nationally
He said: “Having worked in the digital world in Wales, since 2000 starting Wales first cloud business Risc IT Solutions to now also founding Wales first Fintech 50 business, Stockomendation, I have seen first-hand the changes increased broadband speeds and bandwidth have made to our technology businesses.
“The roll-out of Superfast broadband has increased the adoption of Cloud services supplied by Risc IT Solutions across the UK and not just Wales and continues to expand our reach.
Paul Roberts from Stockomendation
“This has meant quicker access to the increased amounts of data businesses hold, the ability to work from mobile, laptops or tablets and greater security through off site Cloud backup and virtual servers.
“It also allows new ground breaking financial technology companies like Stockomendation to not be tied to central locations like London, so we can compete nationally and internationally with the added bonus of having a fantastic lifestyle living and working in the beauty of North Wales.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Superfast Cymru is making good progress. “At the end of March over 645,000 premises across Wales were able to access superfast broadband as a result. 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.
‘Whole counties would have no superfast broadband’
“Whole counties such as Gwynedd, Conwy and Anglesey would have no superfast broadband at all without the intervention of Superfast Cymru.
“The most recent Ofcom report showed that Wales has the best superfast broadband availability amongst the devolved nations, with over eight out ten premises with access.
This compares with just over half in 2014. “We are currently consulting on the next stage where we are looking at the final few percent of premises not covered by the Superfast Cymru rollout or by the telecommunications companies’ own plans. “The consultation is the result of detailed research and includes a list of potential premises without superfast broadband.
We would urge those currently without access to take part in this consultation.”
Better overall approach needed
Mike Learmond, FSB North Wales Development Manager, said: “Whilst customers that have benefitted from upgrades to service are seeing the difference, the fact remains that not all businesses are seeing an improved service.
Openreach Engineer laying fibre in a duct as part of BT’s ?2.5bn super-fast broadband programme.
“We need a much better overall approach to digital connectivity which can work to address gaps across networks and providers. “For example, it is frustrating for businesses that may have access to superfast broadband, but no mobile phone signal or 4G capability when they leave the office.
“Also, now that the infrastructure is in place there is still more work to do to encourage businesses to engage with Superfast Cymru in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Fibre broadband.” Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “Digital connectivity was once a nice-to-have.
It is now essential. And we have come a long way in Wales. “Thanks to the UK Government’s ?66.9million investment in superfast broadband in Wales, over 645,000 Welsh homes and businesses can now get access to superfast broadband, and an additional 80,000 premises are expected to benefit from this investment by the end of 2017.
“But we need to keep the UK moving with the demands of the digital age.
“Our tremendous progress to date in Wales, coupled with the ?400m funding available through the new Digital Infrastructure Fund will equip Welsh businesses with the tools they need to grow, and Welsh homes with the technology to be part of our online global community.” From 2018 the Welsh Government will be working on how to reach the final few per cent of premises without access to superfast broadband. So that this work is as accurate as possible it needs to hear from those not yet connected.
A list of potential premises has been published and is open for comments until July 13.
An interactive map can help residents and businesses check if they are already included on the list.
The Welsh Government also wants to hear from communities who have an interest in driving their own solutions. Consultation at https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/next-generation-access-broadband