Extension with Openreach to bring another 13,000 premises of FTTP to Wales
The superfast roll-out in Wales has been pretty flat since the start of 2018, but things have slowly started to improve once more since the announcement of 26,000 premises set to be passed with FTTP by the end of March 2021. Now an extension has been agreed with funding of £30m from the Welsh Government and European Union, and additional investment from Openreach.
The new extension takes the total expected to 39,000 premises and a new deadline for completion of all these by June 2022. This should push Wales into the region of 97% superfast coverage and fingers crossed further extensions can be agreed that will see the gap to 100% closed.
The covid-19 outbreak has brought into sharp relief the importance of fast and reliable broadband. While the vast majority of premises in Wales have access to superfast broadband, thanks to the earlier Welsh Government intervention through Superfast Cymru, we know we need to reach the final premises without access.
The fibre rollout is part of a package of measures to do just that. The 39,000 premises to benefit from this will have future-proofed fibre to the premises which provides some of the fastest broadband speeds possible. The additional premises I’m announcing today are in areas where coverage is below 90 per cent, so we can make the biggest difference.
Fibre rollout is not the solution for every premises without access to superfast broadband, which is why we have a number of other schemes including the Access Broadband Cymru scheme, the Local Broadband Fund and the Welsh top-up to the UK Government Rural Gigabit Voucher scheme.
While broadband is not devolved, we are determined to take action where we can to improve connectivity across all parts of Wales.Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters
Wales and other parts of the UK increasingly using FTTP to fill in the superfast gaps is welcome, but due to the distances involved it is a lot slower to build out to, and the increased distances means more fibre joints to splice and more hours of labour.
To give you some idea of the difference a quick average from our database for the distance to existing Openreach fibre is 3.5km in Wales for those without access to superfast broadband already and 389 metres for those with a superfast service (the superfast figure excludes those where superfast is already delivered by FTTP). In Ceredigion the difference is even bigger 4.1km versus 367 metres and as the bulk of the extension work is expected in areas with below 90% superfast coverage (Ceredigion is at 82.5% currently) this explains the £2,300 per premises cost (plus Openreach contribution).