Welsh community forms CIC and has started to deliver FTTP
The rural community of Michaelston-y-Fedw, west of Newport formed a Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2017 and has been building a FTTP network between local premises in the area and now with a number of live premises Julie James AM has been along to see how the project that aims to deliver 175 premises of coverage is getting along.
While our programme Superfast Cymru has transformed the digital landscape in Wales, with over nine out of ten premises now able to access superfast broadband as a result compared with just over half when we began, we know there are communities which are not able to access it.
It’s great to see how the community of Michaelston-y-Fedw have spotted an opportunity to use the Welsh Government’s voucher scheme along with real community spirit to achieve an increase in broadband speed which is a real game-changer. They are now able to benefit from some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK, which is a credit to all those involved in this project.
Earlier this year I announced proposals to bring faster internet to communities in Wales which were not part of the Superfast Cymru or commercial rollouts, and this includes looking at what communities can do together. I’m pleased to see what has been achieved here, which shows that community power coupled with government support can really make a difference.Leader of the House with responsibility for digital Julie James
One of the key aspects of the CIC is that premises can make use of one two voucher schemes in Wales, the Access Broadband Cymru scheme or the Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher.
The original plan was to connect every property for free and give the first years service for free, with Gigabit connectivity thereafter costing £30/m, but there was apparently a deadline of some sort so those who had not made an application by then will have pay a connection fee and the monthly charge. It is not obvious what the connection charges are since their website indicates that the Welsh Government is providing £800 per property connected, which we believe is a reference to the voucher schemes. The final fibre run from the edge of the property boundary to indoors is the residents responsibility, but help is available, i.e. a community led effort hence why some of the main network build has been a mixture of commercial firms and volunteer labour.
A new ISP has been added to our speed test and we have seen the odd speed test in the 400 to 500 Mbps region, the postcodes served will be added to our coverage statistics in the next day or two.