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Pembrokeshire Council begins broadband extension


Mark Say Managing Editor

Pembrokeshire County Council has begun an initiative to improve broadband coverage in its area with the first two deals for coverage of rural communities.

Communities in New Moat and Ambleston have selected broadband provider Broadway Partners to build a gigabit capable network under the council’s Digital Connectivity Programme.

In Pembrokeshire, while more than 88% of households and businesses have access to internet speeds of at least 30Mbps, only around 6.6% of premises have access to ultrafast broadband of 100Mbps and 2.5% of county households are still struggling with less than 2Mbps.

In response, the council has divided Pembrokeshire into 77 project areas to give broadband infrastructure providers the opportunity to quote for connecting businesses and homes to a gigabit capable fibre based network.

First steps

Councillor Paul Miller, cabinet member for economy, said: “With the first two pilot communities taking their first steps and two more hot on their heels, we are, as promised, ready to see fibre cables being laid across Pembrokeshire.

“Cabinet has allocated more than £2m of capital funding to support the delivery of fibre, in addition to the significant grant award announced earlier this year.

“On top of that, we estimate these pilot projects will draw down a further £810,000 of UK and Welsh government funding, investment which will be spent directly connecting Pembrokeshire households to the UK fibre network.”

Other elements of the programme involve providing full fibre connections to public buildings across the county, and developing vouchers schemes with communities and businesses to support the building of new broadband infrastructure.

The council does not recommend any supplier in particular but is currently working with those registered with the Department for Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) on the Gigabit Voucher Scheme and the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme.

Image: by neiljaxx CC BY 2.0 via flickr

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