Former Wales rugby international, Rupert Moon, is aiming to transform broadband connectivity across Wales after joining the board of fibre consortium, the i4 Technology Group.
Committed to delivering Gigabit-capable fibre infrastructure across Wales, the group seeks to accelerate the nation’s full fibre roll-out. Currently, only 7% of premises in Wales have access to full fibre broadband, compared to an average availability of 36.4% across the EU’s 28 countries.
Based in Bangor, the i4 Technology Group comprises British Fibre Networks, Pure Fibre Zone, and Pure Fibre Housing, and is led by Welsh fibre entrepreneur Elfed Thomas. Former Wales scrum half and captain of Llanelli RFC, Rupert Moon will take on the role of Head of Business Development.
The poor internet speeds experienced throughout Wales, particularly in less-urban areas, have been well documented.
The most recent Ofcom report into connectivity in Wales revealed that the average download speed is 39Mbps, with the average upload speed just 6Mbps. This is lower than the current UK average speeds, at 54.2Mbps for downloads and 7.2Mbps for uploads.* The i4 Technology Group’s subsidiaries will provide infrastructure that enables premises to access broadband upload and download speeds of up to 1000Mbps (1Gb).
Moon will oversee the growth strategy of the three businesses at a time when each is stepping up its expansion drive, initially focusing on the rollout of Pure Fibre Zone across Wales. Between them, the three companies target new build homes, existing homes and businesses, and social housing.
Launched in 2018, Pure Fibre Zone (PFZ) connects communities, building ultra-fast fibre networks for homes and businesses and installing Wi-Fi mesh to enable quicker mobile connectivity. Its first zone is in Colwyn Bay, where deployment of the network is currently taking place, with further zones identified along the North Wales coastline. PFZ is hoping to capitalise on the recent announcement from the Welsh Government to increase the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, open to small businesses and local communities to contribute to the installation costs of Gigabit-capable broadband. PFZ believes the increased funding will pave the way for its rapid expansion of pure fibre throughout Wales.
British Fibre Networks (BFN), also launched in 2018, provides pure fibre infrastructure to new build homes, and offers homeowners a choice of Internet Service Provider (ISP). It is working on sites across Wales and elsewhere in the UK, with Welsh housebuilders including LW Group and Dragonsway Construction.
Pure Fibre Housing Ltd, recently launched in 2019, is a non-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) that provides full fibre infrastructure to housing association homes.
It is already working with several social housing groups, and has just completed its first project with Cartrefi Gywnedd, one of the biggest housing associations in North Wales.
Rupert Moon will call on the decades of experience he has gained in the community engagement, marketing, and commercial roles that followed his successful rugby career. This included his position as Head of Group Commercial & Business Development for the Welsh Rugby Union and the Millennium Stadium, where he oversaw record turnover and profits. He joins the i4 Technology Group from his position as Director of Corporate and Social Responsibility and Marketing at WRW Construction.
“Over a decade ago, Wales had ambitions to be a European leader in the broadband revolution, and we haven’t achieved that. On the rugby pitch, despite being a small nation, we strive to be the best and most advanced we can be, and I want to apply that same approach to our connectivity.
“The i4 Technology Group is at the forefront of fibre innovation, and I’m excited to be part of delivering the much-needed infrastructure that will help Wales be the best it can be: future proofing our homes, enabling people to digitally upskill, enhancing business capabilities, and ultimately boosting the Welsh economy. We believe that pure fibre should be accessible to everyone, and between the i4 Technology Group’s subsidiaries, we want to make sure no one in Wales is left behind.”
Joining Rupert Moon on the board is Chris Hawkins, who will assume the role of Chief Financial Officer. A qualified accountant, Chris has extensive financial and management accounting experience, particularly in the SME and rapid growth markets.