A ground-breaking ultrafast broadband project run by Pembrokeshire County Council has reached a major milestone.
The first cabinets bringing full fibre, gigabit-capable broadband, with download speeds of up to 1,000Mbps have been installed at St Ishmaels and Woodstock Cross, to serve the surrounding project areas of Dale, New Moat and Ambleston.
Pembrokeshire County Council's Ultrafast Broadband project aims to connect all of Pembrokeshire to gigabit-capable broadband, futureproofing the county against technological advances and boosting opportunities for businesses and residents in an increasingly digital world.
The scheme works by stimulating demand for fast-fibre broadband and accessing funding from the UK and Welsh Government. Local communities are invited to select a supplier of their choice, with no installation fee for customers.
Pilot areas New Moat, Ambleston, Dale and Crymych are now well advanced in their journey to enjoying the benefits of ultrafast broadband.
Herbrandston, Wiston, Slebech, Maenclochog, Llanycefn and Nevern have been chosen as the next project areas.
An additional four broadband officers have been recruited to engage with communities and build on the successes of the pilot areas.
Cllr Paul Miller, Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, said digital connectivity is a top priority for the Authority: "While broadband provision isn’t technically an issue for local authorities I’ve always been clear that we needed to make it our issue and deliver a solution.
“I know we’ll never be the best-connected county in terms of road or rail, but I do believe we can be among the best connected digitally and the economic benefit of achieving that is too compelling to simply leave it to others.
“To that end I have committed the authority to delivering gigabit-capable fibre across the whole of the county by 2023 and the installation of these cabinets is the first, on the ground, step in making that a reality for our communities.
“Residents in our pilot areas can look forward to being connected to gigabit speeds over the coming months and I have recently approved the widening of the programme beyond the pilots and in to full delivery.
"Our recruitment of four new Broadband Engagement Officers has been followed by the selection of the next six project areas, underlining that despite the difficulties of Covid we are committed to this project and to delivering ultrafast broadband to Pembrokeshire.
"We are committed to connecting every home in each project area. That means anyone who wants ultrafast broadband - regardless of where you live. Down a long lane? In a remote village? It doesn't matter, anyone who wants to be connected will be.”
A spokesman for Broadway Partners, who were selected to work with the four pilot areas, said: “We are thrilled to be supporting Pembrokeshire Council in fulfilling their digital vision for the county, and are delighted to be seeing the first tangible results of all our efforts materialising today.
“Digital connectivity is already a must-have for many communities, businesses and households, and we look forward to future progress along the path to a 100% Gigabit-capable Pembrokeshire.”
For more information and to express an interest in getting better broadband in Pembrokeshire, see: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/broadband
Pictured at the site of the first cabinets in St Ishmaels are (from left) Cllr Paul Miller, Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Patrick Hannon, Broadband Delivery Programme Manager and Mike Odlin, Broadband Engagement Officer.