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Lucky few in trial of ultrafast broadband

Thomas Sinclair

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New idea: BT says that its G.fast trials prove the potential for Gigabit over copper

New idea: BT says that its G.fast trials prove the potential for Gigabit over copper

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 swanseaultrafast@bt.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.

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs

Carli Newell

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Swansea.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

Carli Newell

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A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

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Burry Port Harbour lighthouse overhaul tops council’s £2million investment

Carli Newell

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A £2MILLION investment in Burry Port Harbour is nearing completion, topped off with the iconic lighthouse getting a fresh lick of paint.

Carmarthenshire County Council is behind a range of improvements to maintain and restore the historic harbour which is one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls, undertaken under the guidance of CADW, will conclude within the next few weeks.

The council has also been working alongside The Marine Group, which operates the harbour, to improve mooring facilities. They are working closely with fishermen to bid for funding for new commercial pontoon infrastructure.

It will add to investment made over previous years which saw the council spend almost £1.5million on new pontoons, and over £300,000 in maintaining the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has agreed a lease for a cafe and public toilets on east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has recently started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

TMG has also invested in a state-of-the-art dredger which arrived at the harbour last autumn. Dredging is well underway and will continue until targeted depths are reached.

Boat lifting equipment and new fuelling points are also planned.

The council has introduced community safety officers to patrol the harbour assisting tourists and local people during the summer months, especially to advise around Covid regulations, as part of a tourism hotspot plan to take care of issues such as parking, litter, street cleansing, enforcement and signage.

Temporary car parking surfacing has also been laid on the east side along with new pay and display facilities ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are proud of our continued investment in Burry Port Harbour. We are spending millions restoring and maintaining historic features that are much-loved by local people and visitors who come from far and wide to enjoy what the harbour has to offer.

“We continue to work closely alongside The Marine Group and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council to plan and prioritise works and ongoing maintenance. We are as keen as everyone else to ensure it is well-maintained and continues to be a place people can enjoy.

“We appreciate that there has been some upheaval during these improvement works but we ask people to understand that our investment will make Burry Port Harbour an even better place for the future.”

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