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Welsh government consults on gigabit broadband coverage


The Welsh Government has launched an Open Market Review (OMR), which will identify existing and planned commercial coverage for gigabit broadband ISP networks.

This review will identify areas that may require public investment in order to implement gigabit broadband services.

The UK Government's current £5b Project Gigabit programme aims to make sure that at least 85% of UK premises have access to a gigabit-capable connection before 2025. This effort will target the last 20% of premises where commercial investment tends to be unviable due to them being hard-to-reach rural and sub-urban areas.

Commercial rollouts by themselves could increase gigabit coverage to around 60% of UK premises by 2021, and to about 80% by 2025. Current figures for the UK and Wales are 42% and 30% respectively.

The UK Government previously stated that up to 234,000 premises hard to reach rural homes and businesses in Wales are "in scope" for a gigabit-capable internet upgrade.

These are locations that won't be able to benefit from the commercial builds and will need public subsidies to connect them to the network. This applies to rural villages and towns throughout Wales including Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, the Isle of Anglesey, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

Building Digital UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, used all data available to calculate the estimate of 234,000 premises.

However, this figure is due to be updated again as part of the Welsh Government’s OMR. These reviews are used to determine which areas are at risk of not benefitting from gigabit speeds in the future due to there being no existing deployments, or planned deployments within the next 3 years.

The update is significant as several operators have announced major coverage expansions for their commercial deployments of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology in Wales, with Openreach and Ogi currently leading the way.

So once the Welsh Government conducts its review it is possible that the 234,000 figure will be reduced.

The consultation period will conclude on September 24th 2021, and BDUK is currently working with the Welsh Government to finalise the procurement process for Project Gigabit.

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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