A community in the Brecon Beacons has been transformed after residents pulled together to connect to superfast broadband, with the help of the Welsh Government.
Residents in the village of Crai now have broadband speeds of up to 32 Mbps compared with less than 1.5 Mbps previously.
The community came together through the management committee of their local village hall to look at ways of finding a solution to their slow broadband speeds. They investigated a number of possible options, before deciding on Microwave Wireless broadband.
They successfully secured funding for the project from the Welsh Government’s Access Broadband Cymru scheme. Although the community did not need to contribute financially many contributed in other ways such as giving up their free time to help and offering their expertise.
The service provider was Dyfed IT who also provided practical advice and guidance for the community.
Now over 80 properties in the community are connected to superfast broadband allowing residents to work from home, shop online, watch Netflix and other streaming services, and making it easier for children to do their homework.
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said:
“While the vast majority of Wales can now access superfast broadband we know we need to be innovative to reach the final five per cent. One way is for communities to come together and find a solution which can then be funded by one of our grant and voucher schemes.
“It really is a great way of bringing faster internet speeds to whole communities and it’s amazing to see how the community of Crai has been changed for the better by the superfast broadband they now enjoy.
“We are also creating a new £10m community fund which will offer further assistance for communities in the same position as Crai.
“Providing reliable, faster broadband is the responsibility of the UK Government, but we have stepped in where the market does not intend providing a service and there has been no UK Government intervention.
David Ross from Crai said:
“If I were to give advice to another community looking to do something similar I would be happy to tell them that this approach has worked well for us. The initial set up and getting sufficient numbers of households and businesses to sign up was crucial to our success.
“Considerable benefits were immediately realised by our local businesses such as farms and holiday accommodation providers. Other benefits soon became apparent with members of the community being able to work from home, where previously they had to travel to their offices.
Charles Weston, a farmer who works across two sites in Crai and is an operator of a busy holiday accommodation business said:
“My working life has been transformed with the advent of superfast broadband to Crai.
“Having a fast internet connection makes administrative tasks so much quicker, and enjoyable.
“My previous internet speed was 0.4 Mbps but his has increased to 30. This is without the doubt one of the best things to have happened to Crai for a very long time.