Broadband schemes receive £9 million funding boost
Broadband schemes throughout Wales will receive more than £9 million worth of funding to help them deliver fast and reliable broadband to communities that need it, thanks to the Welsh Government’s Local Broadband Fund.
The fund, which was set-up to help local authorities and social enterprises address connectivity issues in their communities has already helped a number of projects across Wales with a further four projects now being awarded funding.
The money will provide better broadband access to communities in Cardiff, Newport, Vale of Glamorgan and North Wales.
Newport City Council has received funding for a scheme to improve gigabit capable full fibre connectivity and the provision of in-building assistive technology, and telecare services to three Adult Residential Care homes in the City of Newport. The project will help improve quality of life highlighted in the published Local Broadband Fund objectives.
The role of assistive technology will aid both staff and residents, providing many benefits in the running of a care home. The ability to provide constant monitoring of residents with health conditions will greatly assist staff members and contribute to a better quality of life for the resident.
Technology will also make it easier for residents to keep in touch with their families through apps such as Skype and Zoom. Video calls have acted as lifelines in most recent times due to the pandemic, where face to face visits were unable to go ahead in our care homes.
A significant part of the investment will go to Cardiff Council to provide broadband to 1,219 homes across Cardiff currently not able achieve broadband speeds of 30Mbps
As part of the Cardiff roll-out, properties considered high in the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019 (WIMD) were given priority. In deciding who was eligible for the roll-out, each site was mapped against its overall deprivation rating and also against several separate indices, including Income, Employment, Health, Access to Services, Community Services, Physical Environment and Housing.
Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters said:
“Fast and reliable broadband is more important than ever. While this area is not devolved to Wales, we are taking action through our Local Broadband Fund and various other schemes to bring better connectivity to some of the hardest to reach parts of Wales. Good quality digital connectivity underpins everything we do digitally and is the foundation to achieving our ambitious Digital strategy for Wales.
“The fund is already delivering a real difference to communities across Wales and today I am delighted to announce further schemes that will benefit from this funding.
“Broadband is a key utility and we’ll continue to support all efforts to boost connections the length and breadth of Wales.”
Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment & Development, Cllr Russell Goodway, said:
“We’re delighted that the Welsh Government has invested £7.7m to help us deliver superfast broadband to these homes in the city. We feel it’s vital that everyone across the city, especially people in isolated properties and deprived areas, have the digital opportunities that many of us take for granted.”
The full list of schemes are included below. Should you have an interest in applying to the scheme, more information is available at this link: https://gov.wales/local-broadband-fund
Notes to editors
Full list of schemes
Vale of Glamorgan Country Parks
This scheme from Vale of Glamorgan Council is focussed on providing improved digital connectivity to three of its country parks to improve tourism and leisure with subsequent benefit for the economy in those areas.
The proposed project will provide added value to all sites, the upgrade of broadband / Wifi facilities and accessibility will enhance the delivery of services to educational and community groups throughout the Vale of Glamorgan and South Wales area. It will enable third party organisations to develop their product offerings, provide onsite training to teachers and other interested bodies, develop learning outcomes to school children and aid in the development of the volunteer’s skill base.
Funding - £115,000 capital
North Wales Local Full Fibre Upgrades
Ambition North Wales has delivered over 300 upgrades to full fibre broadband at public sector sites through the UK Government’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Challenge fund. By the end of Q4 2022 a further 29 sites will be connected by the end of the project. A successful application to UK Government in 2019 secured over £8m to improve broadband connectivity at these sites. Initially the sites had very slow broadband speeds using copper connections but were given access to ‘full fibre’ gigabit capable connectivity, effectively future proofing against future demand and meeting immediate requirements for a wide range of public services.
28 further sites currently require funding to achieve complete coverage of the intended upgrades, consisting of principally local authority and health services. While the primary benefits associated with the upgrades will be realised by the public services and their users it is understood, from evidence of earlier delivery and insight, that wider benefits will be delivered to the communities in the vicinity of the target public sector premises. This means homes and business in the area may also benefit from the improved broadband infrastructure potentially gaining access to full fibre broadband.
Funding - £736,000 capital
Cardiff – y Rhai Olaf
This is a scheme by Cardiff Council to forward their aim of all premises in the city being able to access fast reliable broadband. .
Cardiff council have identified 1,219 that cannot currently achieve speeds of 30Mbps and are not in other planned rollouts… These remaining properties are located across the whole of the City area.
A proportion of the sites are in clusters which have a higher impact as it will address many properties at the same time, making the project easier to deliver. However, some properties are standalone, isolated sites which are more difficult to address, these tend to be more costly per single unit and will require more innovative approaches to deliver.
Whilst aligning with wider plans and programmes, a further consideration in reviewing the remaining 1,219 sites focussed on classification by Deprivation and seeks to address those areas classed as highest in the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019 (WIMD). Each site has been mapped against its overall deprivation rating and also against several separate indices, including Income, Employment, Health, Access to Services, Community Services, Physical Environment and Housing. Where possible, this project will seek to target those premises ranked highest in the WIMD.
Funding - £7,705,000 capital
Scheme – Newport – Assistive Technology in Social Care
Newport City Council have identified a scheme to improve gigabit capable full fibre connectivity and the provision of in-building assistive technology, and telecare services to three Adult Residential Care homes in the City of Newport (Blaen-Y-Pant, Parklands and Spring Gardens). This is seen as an intervention to improve quality of life as noted under the published Local Broadband Fund objectives.
The role of assistive technology aids both staff and residents, providing many benefits in the running of a care home. The ability to provide constant monitoring of residents with health conditions will greatly assist staff members and contribute to a better quality of life for the resident.
Residents will find it easier to maintain aspects of their independence within the home.
Technology makes it substantially easier for residents to keep in touch with their families through apps such as Skype and Zoom. Video calls have acted as lifelines in most recent times due to the pandemic, where face to face visits were unable to go ahead in our care homes.
The following will be provided in all three buildings: -
- The provision of a gigabit capable dark fibre connection. The scheme will expand the footprint of dark fibre within Newport that will also act as a catalyst for gigabit connections in the future
- The upgrade of in-building infrastructure including routers, Wi-Fi access points and the potential installation of sensors
- An overlay of IoT based telecare applications including monitoring and environmental control
The scheme’s primary aim is to connect the three care homes to gigabit infrastructure whilst also extending dark fibre provision in the city of Newport.
Funding = c. £200k