A new non-profit organisation has launched in Wales, aiming to bring the fastest internet speeds and highest level of connectivity to housing association tenants. Pure Fibre Housing, a Community Interest Company (CIC), will provide full fibre infrastructure to housing associations on a non-profit basis. It is part of the i4 Technology Group founded by Welsh fibre entrepreneur Elfed Thomas.
Pure Fibre Housing is already working on site at its first project, with Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (CCG), one of the biggest housing associations in North Wales. The partnership will provide residents of two developments in the Meirionnydd area with the latest connectivity technology.
Good internet speeds are becoming increasingly important in hyper-connected modern life, as people rely on home broadband for leisure time, admin tasks, keeping in touch with family, and working from home. Only 4% of UK homes have pure fibre connectivity, whereas 54% of people moving into newly built homes expect the technology as standard.
The installation of pure fibre infrastructure in CCG’s developments allows it to future proof its homes and ensure occupants can reap the benefits of digital inclusion.
The network built by Pure Fibre Housing Association means that tenants can experience upload and download speeds of up to 1000Mbps (1Gb). This is much higher than the current UK average speeds of 46.2Mbps for downloads, and 6.2Mbps for uploads.
The UK housing market is currently suffering the effects of misleading fibre claims, with many so-called ‘fibre connected’ homes still partially connected to copper links. Even small copper connections can drastically reduce internet speeds, with some of the infrastructure dating back to the Victorian era.
When installed, the independent fibre infrastructure delivered by Pure Fibre Housing Association will be able to connect to a range of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This means that housing associations can provide tenants with a choice of providers from the broadband market – allowing them to access faster speeds at more competitive prices. It will ensure that tenants are not stuck with a provider offering poor service or a lack of value for their money.
Elfed Thomas, founder of Pure Fibre Housing commented:
“A good internet connection is becoming as essential to a home as running water. Typically, housing association homes have been neglected in the full-fibre rollout, despite clear evidence that nationwide digital inclusion will have a positive impact on the UK economy, as well as its ability to improve people’s lives.
“We want to ensure that everyone throughout the UK can take full advantage of what good connectivity can offer; whether that be to digitally upskill, engage in e-learning, access online banking, or just do their weekly shop. Our partnership with Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd has allowed us to get off to a flying start in achieving that.”
Huw Evans, Development and New Builds Manager added:
“We are really proud to be one of the first housing associations in Wales to offer our tenants full fibre options. In this day and age, we depend so much on the internet to assist us in so many aspects of our lives, and providing our tenants, especially in rural areas with excellent connectivity, speed, value for money and reliability is something we are really proud of.
“It was great to be able to work with a local company, who are based literally down the road from our Bangor office. We look forward to working with them on future developments as we aim to build 550 units across north Wales over the next three years.”
CCG is currently in the process of pure fibre installation on two developments: Criccieth, which will consist of ten houses, and Tywyn, which will comprise four houses and eight flats. The new build properties are due to be handed over to tenants, complete with pure fibre connectivity, in May 2019.