The village of Treleddyd Fawr near St Davids will get up to 5Mb broadband after residents made a community bid to the Broadband Support Scheme.
The scheme enables individuals and groups in remaining Welsh broadband ‘notspots’ to approach internet service providers directly. They can apply for up to £1,000 for individual premises to help with the set-up and installation costs of a broadband connection. To date, 1,138 people have requested support.
Treleddyd Fawr is the first community application to be approved under the initiative. 20 people have pooled their applications to receive £20,000 of funding.
Residents will receive between 2Mb to 5Mb broadband connection from local company TFL. The connection will be wireless, enabling all residents to get online.
Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said,
“Access to broadband is vital if Wales is to have infrastructure fit for the 21st century. As a government we are doing all we can to get communities across the country online with the fastest speeds available. Our support scheme is designed to help everyone from the home internet user to businesses to get connected.
“Treleddyd Fawr is a great example of how our support has allowed a whole village to find the right answer to their problem. By coming together, they have increased their options and improved their buying power. We are committed to ensuring all businesses have access to Next Generation broadband by mid-2016, and all households by 2020 – ahead of European targets. Examples like this are the first stage of that process.”
Jonathan England, TFL Group Director said,
“This project would not have been completed in such a short time without the help of the Assembly Government’s broadband support scheme. Consequently, we are expecting the new high-speed telephony services to make a huge impact to business and homes in the area, with a signal that can be easily upgraded and extended to anywhere else within the region.”
John Warren runs a business from home and co-ordinated the application on behalf of the community. Mr Warren said,
“The provision of broadband through the scheme has now enabled the surprisingly large number of businesses and individuals in the ‘not-spot’ to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the region and the country as a whole. Of the 25 or so people in the initial stage of the scheme only two or three were purely personal use with the others having often more than one business requiring the service. The businesses benefitting include farms, holiday parks and cottages, artists’ studios, agricultural contractors and boat builders as well as the local RNLI lifeboat station.
“With the need for returns to be submitted on-line for HMRC, etc, it is amazing that so many farmers are having to work in the early hours of the morning to complete them using ‘dial-up’. The arrangements other individuals have been making just in order to have broadband has also amazed me, including setting up offices in relatives houses up to half an hours drive away; sitting in cars outside relatives houses in town during the middle of the night; and going to their offices at night to download large specifications from overseas ready for manufacturing the next day.
“It is not only the individuals who are benefitting as there are at least two instances where they were in danger of losing export contracts as a direct result of not having Broadband. The Scheme has also served to bring the community together and has highlighted the frustration of so many people trying to get the service over a number of years.”