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Superfast Broadband to Transform Rural Welsh Communities

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Some 400 homes in a central Monmouthshire region are set to be able to benefit from superfast broadband thanks to an innovative project that could be repeated across the country.

Households in an area within six kilometres of Llantilio Crossenny will be able to access fast and efficient broadband of up to 30Mbs through the application of a ground-breaking combination of new and existing technologies, TV White Space and 5GHz radio.

The project follows the successful application of the same technology, which has been developed by UK company Broadway Partners and deployed in remote communities across Scotland.

Broadway Partners is delivering the project after being awarded a contract by Monmouthshire County Council, through funding from the Rural Community Development Fund, part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities’ Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

Michael Armitage, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Broadway Partners, said:

“The technology we have developed is now proven through successful projects in Scotland and it could be applied to a huge number of remote Welsh communities where people are denied access to fast broadband.

“We are delighted to be rolling it out in Monmouthshire where some 400 households will have the option for the first time to be able to enjoy the same kind of access that most of us take for granted.

“Our technology could be transformational for tens of thousands of remote households and businesses in rural Wales.”

Broadway Partners’ technology uses state-of-the-art TV White Space technology – using radio spectrum made available because of the switchover to digital TV transmission – and conventional 5GHz radio technology.

The company has connected some 280 rural households and businesses to broadband services on the Isle of Arran and in the Loch Ness and Loch Leven areas of Scotland.

Their approach builds on the back of BT Openreach’s multi-billion pound investment to extend the reach of its fibre network to ‘neighbourhood cabinets’. Broadway Partners’ technology means the reach of the network can be extended to the most out-of-the-way places.

The home monthly price of a broadband connection for up to 30Mbps is £35 per month over a 12 month contract, or £32.50 over a 24 month contract (inclusive of VAT). Residents may be eligible to apply for an Access Broadband Cymru voucher from the Welsh Government to cover the cost of installation, where Broadway is able to double a customer’s current download speed. Otherwise, there will be a one-off installation fee: a standard installation costs £240, with more complicated installations subject to a higher fee.

Michael Armitage added:

“We are pleased to have been awarded this contract from Monmouthshire County Council to deliver superfast broadband to their residents.  Our existing customers tell us that our broadband has transformed their lives and their businesses, allowing them to enjoy services such as iPlayer, Netflix and Skype, to post videos to YouTube, to keep up with social media, to do homework, to keep in constant contact with customers and suppliers – in short, to do all those things that most people take for granted.”

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