The rollout of superfast fibre broadband will help thrust North Wales into the internet fast lane, while creating 1800 jobs across the region. The area has lagged so far behind in internet speeds, making it harder for many entreprenuers and businesses to full exploit the internet to create and grow their companies, which costs the area in terms of jobs and investment.
Now the Welsh Government and BT’s rollout of superfast broadband is changing the landscape with speedy downloads now available to 75,000 homes and businesses in the north, with the higure growing every month.
It is predicted that by 2016, 96% of homes and businesses should have a minimum speed of 24 Megabits (Mbps) per second – which when compared to the current situation, where places like Anglesey have 20% of premises with internet speeds lower than 2Mbps.
Once connected, studeis are presidictin that the higher internet speeds should create a total of 1800 jobs in Noth Wales through business creation and imporved business performance over 15 years.
Ann Beynon, BT Director of Wales, said: “For retail businesses it means being able to run on-line shops, for a B&B it could mean having on-line films of what they do or on the surrounding area. It means people being to able to set up back room businesses or run on-line stores in conjunction with their high street operations.
“It is also vital to have these speeds so people can develop their digital skills.
“Businesses looking to invest are now asking if these skills are available in the area. Superfast broadband is critical to business.
“A study has found it could be worth an additional 250 jobs to the average local authority in Wales and that is to start with, they can build on that.”
Engineers will be laying out around 17,500 kms of optical fibre cable and install around 3,000 new fibre broadband cabinets in streets the length and breadth of Wales, carrying an extensive infrastructure project where they are taking on 200 apprentices, with around 150 places still available.
Ann added: “We are recruiting, we are taking on 200 apprentices and we expect those who are successful will continue with BT. Those jobs are ringfenced to Wales so they are very good opportunities for people.”
But the message from BT was that there was no point in having superfast broadband available to businesses and homes if it is not taken up.
Ann said: “There is no point saying we are number one in availability if people are not using it. We need people to take this up.
“They started before us and they have marketed this relentlessly for five years. There is no quick fix to this, it is about getting the message out and showing people the benefits and encouraging people to sign up.”“Northern Ireland is currently ahead in this, they are now third in the world behind Japan and South Korea.