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North Wales Wildlife Trust Turns to Full Fibre to Protect our Wildlife

Band eang yn helpu i ddiogelu bywyd gwyllt y gogledd




Having ultrafast full fibre broadband has revolutionised the way that North Wales Wildlife Trust works according to its CEO, Frances Cattanach.

The Trust, which manages 36 nature reserves across North Wales covering around 790 hectares, has teamed up with digital network provider, Openreach, to connect its rural Maeshafn office near Mold with access to some of the fastest and most reliable broadband speeds in Europe.

In addition to running wildlife conservation projects that include re-introducing the beaver to Wales, managing natural habitats and running educational school visits, the Trust also provides environmental impact surveys for developers, and works with landowners to identify land for wildlife improvements. These surveys involve working on data heavy mapping files that meant staff had to leave the Maeshafn office and download documents at home – where their broadband speeds were quicker and more reliable.

With staff having to be at the office in order to manage its on site tree nursery and 500 plus volunteers the poor connectivity was proving to be a headache for the Trust and its leader.

Frances Cattanach explains:

“North Wales Wildlife Trust is no different to any other organisation or business in that everything is moving online or being digitised. From sharing resources to saving our finances everything is moving to a shared central drive and our poor broadband was causing us real difficulties.”

“During lockdown we were finding that communication and collaboration improved among the team as our home broadband was better than what we had in the office.

“Working full-time from home isn’t an option as we need to be on site in Maeshafn but the new ultrafast connection that Openreach engineers have installed means we can now go back to the office with confidence.

“We turned to Openreach for a solution to our connectivity problem and their engineers have been incredible. Having fast, reliable fibre broadband means we can do so much more and quicker. Producing environmental impact surveys and digital maps are vital tools in protecting our natural habitats so being able to pull them together in the office – and not having to down tools and rely on your home broadband – is a huge bonus.”

“As an organisation it also important that our team – who are often dotted across North Wales – are able to communicate effectively in order to be able to collaborate. Having ultrafast broadband enables us to do this and we’re all delighted with the results.”

In order to connect the site Openreach engineers have run 13 km of fibre from the exchange in Connahs Quay to the Maeshafn office connecting nearly 100 properties along the way with access to some of the fastest and most reliable broadband speeds in Europe.

Andy Whale, Chief Engineer for Openreach, said: “In the same way that natural habitats need their own networks that keep them connected us humans are no different.”

“The work we’ve done to connect the North Wales Wildlife Trust illustrates perfectly how fast, reliable broadband is essential for us all and I’m delighted that we’ve not only been able to bring ultrafast fibre broadband to the NWWT office but also to a number of homes and businesses in the surrounding area.”

Openreach plays an important role across Wales. More than 2,500 of our people live and work here. Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in Wales to full fibre. It estimated this would create a £2 billion boost to the local economy.

More than 320,000 homes and businesses can already order ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband in Wales thanks to Openreach.

The company recently updated its build plan across Wales and the rest of the UK which will be fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable’ broadband to 85 per cent of UK by 2025.

The updated plans will see Openreach investing £15 billion to build its ultrafast full fibre technology to a total of 25 million premises across the UK, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country by the end of 2026.

Openreach recently made a number of announcements on its latest build plans for Wales where more than 415,000 additional homes and businesses – in 140 mainly rural and harder to serve areas across every single Welsh local authority area – will get access to ultrafast fibre broadband. The company is also working in partnership with Welsh Government to reach those that are in the final 5%.