Llancarfan Gains Access to Ultrafast Broadband

A partnership between local residents and Openreach is to make high-speed fibre broadband available to Llancarfan, a rural Vale community.

Residents and businesses in Llancarfan will soon be able to enjoy some of the fastest and most reliable broadband speeds in Europe as a result of Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership (CFP).

The scheme is designed to help people in places not included in any current roll-out plans to bring fibre broadband to their local area, working with Openreach to co-fund the installation.

The cost of the Llancarfan CFP will be covered by a combination of investment from Openreach and the residents themselves who were able to access Welsh Government Access Broadband Cymru (ABC) vouchers.

The benefits of the new ultrafast broadband infrastructure will be enjoyed by all 129 properties in Llancarfan – ranging from a local tractor distributor to a leading Welsh heart surgeon – which will make it the largest full-fibre Community Fibre Partnership of its kind in Wales.

Dr David Smith, a consultant cardiologist who lives in Llancarfan and practises at Morriston Hospital, says that having ultrafast broadband fed directly to his home will be a game changer for the way he works. Dr Smith explains: “As a medical professional, ultrafast broadband will facilitate my work enormously. Modern medicine is dominated by diagnostic imaging be it ultrasound, computerised tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These complex images, which are large digital files, are used not only in diagnosis but in planning treatment. In my work as a heart specialist, the arrival of ultrafast broadband will allow me to review cases and plan individual treatment strategies in my own home which I am currently unable to do. This pre-procedural review will improve efficiency and therefore be of benefit in improving patient care.”

Thoughts of having to relocate his local tractor dealership due to poor connectivity have now been put aside by David Evans who runs Llancarfan based DEAL Tractors. With ultrafast broadband now on its way David explains how difficult it has been to run his business with poor connectivity: "With e-commerce being ‘the norm’ it is imperative that a rurally based business like ourselves has access to the fast internet connectivity that urban areas benefit from. We are simply unable to function properly as a business without it and in order to continue to thrive and grow it is simply an essential business tool and most certainly not a luxury.”

Welcoming the announcement Martyn Hughes, Chairman of Llancarfan Community Council, said, “We’re incredibly excited about finally securing ultrafast broadband for Llancarfan and the surrounding community. The delivery of this project will see the entire village connected – including more than 25 businesses and a large number of people who work from home. It will without question digitally transform every aspect of our lives.”

Secretary of State for Wales and Vale MP Alun Cairns has been working with the local community to get to this point and commented, “I’m absolutely delighted that Llancarfan will soon have access to ultrafast broadband, it’s great news that we have been looking forward to for some time. I’m also aware of other communities that are exploring this option and I’m keen to help and support them as they do.”

He added, “I want to pay tribute to the members of the community who have worked hard to achieve this, including Martyn Hughes. The world today is connected through the internet, which is why I have also been doing all I can to improve broadband across the Vale. Ultrafast broadband plays an essential role in supporting our economy by attracting investment and providing the platform for local businesses to grow. In Llancarfan I’ve spoken to independent businesses and professionals that need access to reliable and high speed internet. This will be transformative for them and for residents. I would encourage others to follow this model and I am happy to provide any assistance to them as they explore this option.”