HOUSEHOLDS and businesses in Swansea are among the first in the UK to experience ultrafast broadband with a trial of cuttingedge BT technology. The new ‘G.fast’ technology, which is being pioneered by BT’s world famous research and development team, has already been shown to deliver download speeds up to 330 megabits per second (Mbps) – more than ten times the current UK average. The new technical trial in Swansea focuses on how G.fast can be used to serve multiple dwelling units, such as apartment blocks and business centres, both of which present unique challenges. Around 100 homes and businesses in the Swansea SA1 Waterfront and Maritime Quarter will benefit from the free technical trial for approximately 6 months.
The trial is testing the technology, including speeds and customer experiences. G.fast changes the way today’s broadband is transmitted, delivering ultrafast speeds that currently require fibre to be run all the way to the premises (FTTP). This is significant as it will enable Openreach, BT’s local network business, to make ultrafast broadband available to a much larger number of homes and businesses, and in a shorter time. If trials like the one in Swansea prove successful – and if UK regulation continues to encourage investment – Openreach aims to start deploying G.fast in 2016/17 alongside its fibre-to-the-cabinet and fibre-tothe- premises services. The company believes that G.fast will enable it to make speeds of a few hundred megabits per second available to millions of homes by 2020 and deliver up to 500Mbps to most of the UK within a decade as the technology is developed further.
Welcoming today’s announcement, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James, said: “Wales is already leading the way in terms of superfast broadband coverage and we welcome the fact that BT has selected Swansea to trial this next generation of broadband technology. “We are already working with BT to roll-out superfast broadband to homes and businesses across Wales which will help support our economy. We want to stay ahead of the competition and so it’s good to see this continued investment and innovation in the industry.
Ultrafast broadband could eventually deliver even more benefits to Wales – helping drive economic growth and create jobs.” Sir Terry Matthews, chairman of the Swansea Bay City Region Board, added: “Events have moved at an astonishing speed since the G.fast technical trial was announced at the Swansea Bay City Region Innovation Summit in May. “I am personally delighted at the number and range of business and residential consumers who will be able to experience the benefits of this technology. It will lay the foundations for the exploration of a fantastic range of next-generation services and applications.” Among the first companies to take part in the trial are Technium 2 based, S8080: one of Wales’s largest website design agencies.
Peter Ward, Network Administrator of the agency, which specialises in large public sector projects, said: “We’re a company that rely heavily on fast, reliable connectivity to the internet in order to both upload and download large files to our clients.” “Our first impression of G.fast is that it’s a technology that does exactly this and is much quicker than what we’ve used in the past. It’s great news for Swansea that G.fast is being trialled here and I’d encourage other businesses in the area to take advantage of the opportunity to test this cutting-edge technology.” Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s cabinet m ember for enterprise, development and regeneration, said: “It’s hugely encouraging that this technical trial is taking place in Swansea. “It shows confidence in Swansea’s ambition to be a leading city of innovation and business that’s at the forefront of new technology.
“The technical trial will be a huge boost for residents and businesses that are participating and as it is rolled out in Swansea in future, this technology will help transform local businesses, improve the local economy and attract new investment and jobs.” Kim Mears, managing director of infrastructure at Openreach, said: “The technical trial at Swansea underpins a number of commitments which we have made as a business around coverage and speed. “We continue to invest in network innovation, bringing this fantastic technology to serve complex multidwelling units and business premises. “The G.fast technology trial will help us in supporting the Government’s ambition of going beyond the UK’s 95 per cent target for fibre broadband whilst providing the speed which our customers want.”
Mike Galvin, who has been leading the technical trials of G.fast as BT’s managing director of service, strategy and operations, said: “This technical trial in Swansea builds on our work in the labs and on the largest customer trials of G.fast technology in the world in Gosforth and Huntingdon*. “We will be testing ways of delivering ultrafast speeds to flats, apartments and business units, so the people of Swansea will play an extremely important role in helping us gauge how this technology performs, and how we might deliver it to more of Wales and the UK over the coming years. “We are also grateful to both the Welsh Government and Swansea Council, who are playing a key supportive role with the trial. “The people of Swansea are also playing an extremely important part in helping us gauge how the technology performs, and how we might deliver ultrafast speeds to more of Wales and the UK over the coming years.”
The speeds provided by this technology enables customers to stream live ultra-high-definition 4K video content to multiple devices at once, whilst simultaneously browsing the web, uploading videos and photos, or playing online games. Residents and businesses in the Swansea Waterfront Prince of Wales Dock area on Kings Road and the Maritime Quarter area on Trawler Road wanting to take part in this technical trial should contact email@example.com BT has pioneered research into G.fast technology since 2007 and been heavily involved in driving the creation of global industry standards in that time. The G.fast trial in Swansea builds on the existing investment BT has made in fibre infrastructure in the city. Approximately 95 per cent of the Swansea local authority area already has access to fibre when both BT’s commercial and Superfast Cymru’s roll out are combined.
Station Road: Off-licence refused alcohol licence
AN OFF-LICENCE on Llanelli’s Station Road has been refused an alcohol licence by Carmarthenshire County Council after councillors decided it could add to the area’s crime and disorder problems.
The Licensing Committee’s decision has been upheld after the applicant, who runs the shop Kubus, appealed to the courts.
The applicant, Aram Mahmood, had asked the council for permission to sell alcohol at his shop between 9am and 9pm Monday to Sunday.
However councillors felt that granting the licence would contravene the authority’s Cumulative Impact Policy, which creates a presumption against the granting of premises licences in the Station Road area, due to anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled crime issues.
A Dyfed Powys Police representative said Station Road is still identified as a crime and disorder hot spot, and a Drinking in Public Places Order (DPPO) is in place.
During April 2017 and March 2018, 164 anti-social behaviour incidents were recorded in Station Road, over a quarter having occurred within licensed premises.
A fifth of all related crime and 13 per cent of all alcohol related anti-social behavior incidents recorded in Llanelli town occurred in Station Road.
Over 40 alcohol related violent crimes were also recorded there during the same period.
Although there are now fewer premises selling alcohol in Station Road, statistics show there is still a high level of alcohol related crime and disorder in the area.
The applicant told the committee that his main customers were families wishing to buy Polish and European foods and products.
He told councillors he had ordered a CCTV system and assured them that the management of alcohol would be well controlled by staff, though believed that his customers would not cause problems.
The licensing committee’s decision was upheld following the applicant’s appeal to Llanelli Magistrates Court.
Justices found that there was no evidence of exceptional reasons to justify departing from the Cumulative Impact Policy and were satisfied with the committee’s decision.
Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman
THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.
Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.
Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.
Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.
“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.
Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.
The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.
Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.
Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.
He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.
He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.
A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.
A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.
He is married with two children and three grandchildren.
‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’
LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.
Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.
During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.
Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”
“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”
Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.
Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”
Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.
“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”
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