Swansea Bay City Deal has moved a step closer to a £55 million investment in digital infrastructure in the region.
The programme’s joint committee has approved the programme, with its own commitment to provide £25 million, for submission to the UK Government and Welsh Government for final approval.
This comes two months after indications that local authorities in the city region were planning to back the programme.
Led by Carmarthenshire County Council, the programme is aimed at giving the region’s cities, towns and business parks competitive access to full fibre connectivity. It is also intended to improve access to broadband in rural communities and encourage the development of 5G and internet of things applications.
The remaining money is expected to come from the public and private sectors, and is projected to be worth £318 million to the regional economy over the next 15 years.
Councillor Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire County Council leader, said: “The quality of digital infrastructure in South West Wales is currently lagging behind other parts of the UK though, so this programme will help close that gap by acting as a springboard for a super-connected city region with equality of access to broadband throughout our rural communities.
“This will benefit regional residents and businesses both now and in future by improving connectivity and providing the kind of digital infrastructure that’ll be needed to support digital innovation in coming years, including advancements in 5G and internet of things technology.”
Other organisations involved in the programme are Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire Council, Swansea Council, Swansea University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board.
Image from iStock, Alexey Brin