Following yesterday’s post about the role out of fast broadband to the island this is an earlier account which gives the back ground to the project.
High-speed fibre-optic network launched in North Wales
An open-access fibre network designed to improve high speed internet connections to homes and businesses in North Wales has been launched officially.
200 miles of fibre optic cable has been laid between Holyhead on Anglesey and Manchester as part of the scheme, which will enable broadband services with speeds of up to 1Gbps for business parks and industrial estates in the region.
The £30m FibreSpeed initiative has received financial backing from both public and private sectors including the Welsh Assembly Government, European Regional Development Fund, and fibre-network company Geo Networks. The assembly estimates that the investment will add £29m GVA (gross value added) to the Welsh economy year on year.
Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones said it would “substantially enhance” Wales’ internet infrastructure. “This exciting advance helps arm Welsh businesses with a powerful competitive advantage in resisting the global financial crisis and preparing for the economic upturn that will follow,” he said.
“It will also in due course encourage development of a comprehensive network to serve a growing number of communities.”
The initiative is part of a wider long-term plan by the Welsh Assembly to make high speed broadband services available throughout Wales. The scheme is thought to be the first public-private partnership of its kind in the UK, with funding from both the Assembly and the European Union. Currently many Welsh businesses that ship large amounts of data across the internet must pay up to six times more for the privilege than London-based businesses, due to a poorer broadband infrastructure, according to FibreSpeed.
Chris Smedley, FibreSpeed Chief Executive, said: “Access to high speed communications has been highlighted as a critical part of success in the modern world, spanning every aspect of life from children’s performance at school to businesses’ ability to compete in the global economy.”
The new fibre-optic broadband will be trialled at 14 sites in North Wales to start with. It is hoped that ISPs will extend the network to other parts of Wales in the future.
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