Wales’ biggest Community Fibre Partnership to go ahead after 100% sign-up for vouchers
The Ynys Môn community of Llanfair PG – or to give its full name of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogoch, famous for having the longest place name in Europe –will soon be able to access some of the fastest broadband speeds in Europe.
Following a successful partnership between local residents and Openreach the Llanfair PG community will now be able to take advantage of speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps) using Openreach’s ‘full fibre’ network (also known as Fibre-to-the-Premise) where fibre is run directly from the exchange all the way to property.
The improved fibre broadband infrastructure is being enabled by Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) programme – a scheme which is designed to help people living and working in rural communities that are not included in any current roll-out plans.
As befits providing ultrafast broadband to the longest place name in Wales this latest community partnership is the largest of its kind in Wales with around 1360 properties expected to be upgraded. Openreach engineers will now start work on installing a total of around 85 km of fibre cable overhead and underground from the telephone exchange in Bangor to the residents of Llanfair PG.
The cost of the Llanfair PG CFP was covered by investment from both Openreach and the residents themselves who were able to access the Welsh Government’s top-up to the UK Government’s Rural Gigabit Voucher scheme as part of their contribution.
Welcoming the new ultrafast infrastructure that’s coming to Llanfair PG, Neil Williams, Director of local Volvo dealership, Tyn Lon Garage, said:
“Whilst we thought we had future proofed our IT infrastructure, the need for a faster connection is paramount for our business today.
“What was more than enough capacity three years ago is not enough to operate the business today. Software data packages for vehicles in our workshop are getting larger and larger, therefore taking longer to download to vehicles and, in turn, slowing down everyone’s connections here. Ten years ago, we never imagined there would be such a demand on our IT infrastructure and connection.
“We anticipate speeds will increase operationally by about 80% with the new connection, and it really cannot come soon enough for us. It really is a necessity rather than a ‘nice to have’ for us.”
Menter Môn played a key role in helping to raise awareness for the scheme within the community. As a locally based organisation, Menter Môn works with communities across Gwynedd and Ynys Môn to explore broadband solutions, such as the one offered by Openreach. Their broadband officer Will Adams has been busy over the last six months working with Openreach to knock on doors, run social media campaigns and organise mail drops.
Dafydd Gruffydd, the Menter Môn Managing Director, explained
“Getting Llanfair PG over the line has been a real team effort. Nothing demonstrated this better than seeing officers from Openreach and Menter Môn going from door to door on Saturday morning with members of the community. To get from 7% voucher sign-up in April to 100% in October is a massive achievement and shows what can be done within a community with the right support and resources.”
Jamie Edwards, Openreach rural engagement manager, said:
“We all know how essential it is for homes and businesses up and down the country to have fast, reliable broadband. From running a business to home schooling and shopping – so much is done online.
“While more than 95 per cent of premises in Wales can already access superfast broadband, we know there is more to do to reach those final premises.
“A small number of communities, like Llanfair PG, are missing out on good broadband connectivity. Our Community Fibre Partnership helps bring ultrafast connections to those areas to bridge this gap. It’s now important that those that have pledged remember to validate their vouchers.
“We’re also looking to get enough residents in Beaumaris down the road to sign up. Hopefully they can match their neighbours in getting access to some of fastest and most reliable broadband speeds out there.”
Openreach are looking to bring full fibre to Beaumaris using the Community Fibre Partnership scheme. If enough local residents sign up to the scheme it will join Llanfair PG in having ultrafast broadband.
Rural residents and businesses in Wales may be eligible for vouchers from both UK and Welsh Government to cover the costs of installing gigabit-capable broadband to their premises when part of a group project such as Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership.
Once Openreach has installed the infrastructure, residents can place an order for the new faster services with an Internet Service Provider of their choice.
More than 90 communities across every part of rural Wales have benefitted from Openreach’s CFP programme to date with more than 11,000 properties now being able to access fibre broadband as a result. In excess of 260 rural Welsh communities have been working with Openreach to explore this method of delivering fibre broadband.
To find out more visit Community Fibre Partnerships (openreach.com)