Work has begun on a community broadband scheme, which is being supported by Powys County Council, after a funding bid was confirmed.
The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Welsh Government are paying for the project at Llanafan Fawr, Llanwrthwl and Elan Village, through the UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which will be delivered by contractor Broadway Partners.
Survey work has recently started, with the fibre to the premises build predicted to begin later this year, as part of an investment of more than £250,000 in the area, which will connect over 150 properties.
Llanafan Fawr and Llanwrthwl Community Broadband Scheme was set up three years ago with the aim of bringing ultrafast broadband to the area and is now being led by a steering group made up of representatives from the Llanafan Fawr and Llanwrthwl communities, the area’s county councillor, Cllr David Price, and the council’s community broadband officer.
Cllr Beverley Baynham, Powys County Council’s (PCC) Portfolio Holder for Corporate Governance and Regulatory Services, said:
“The community group, which has driven this project, and Cllr Price, are to be commended for their efforts to bring better connectivity to residents and businesses. It has been a long journey for them but should deliver great benefits once completed and is paving the way for other similar projects across the county.”
Cllr Iain McIntosh, PCC’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Regeneration, Planning and Housing, added:
““I am delighted that we have been able to help Cllr David Price and the Llanafan Fawr and Llanwrthwl community make their broadband scheme a reality.
“It is vital that we have a level playing field when it comes to access to digital services, and that Powys businesses and communities have the same opportunities as those in other, more urban, parts of the UK. I would like to encourage other communities with poor connectivity to get in touch to find out how then can follow in the footsteps of others, by getting similar projects up and running in their areas too.”
PCC has supported the Llanafan Fawr and Llanwrthwl Community Broadband Scheme as part of its Digital Powys project, which aims to help businesses and communities to stay connected. It is also part of its Transformation Programme to deliver aspirations in its Vision 2025 corporate improvement plan.
Community broadband schemes are also aiming to achieve similar results in other parts of the county, including in Aberedw and Glascwm, and in Dwyriw and Manafon.
If you want help to set up your own community broadband scheme in Powys, or to join an existing one, contact Reece Simmons, the council’s community broadband officer, within the council’s Regeneration Team, at: [email protected] Further information on improving your broadband connection, including grants and support, can be found on the council’s website: https://en.powys.gov.uk/article/10258