More homes in Wales to get faster broadband says BT

Fibre optic cable
Image caption If faster speeds are achieved a chart hit could be downloaded in around two seconds

Nearly 175,000 homes and businesses in Wales are to get access to 'super-fast'' broadband.

It is part of BT's £2.5bn roll-out of 'fibre' broadband with the upgrades due to be completed by next year.

Places covered by the new investment include Wrexham, Newport, Pontypridd, Prestatyn and parts of Cardiff and Swansea.

Business leaders' body the Institute of Directors Wales said access to fast broadband was vital.

BT said its local network business Openreach is driving forward plans to make super-fast fibre broadband available to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.

It said the investment would boost both for leisure users and smaller businesses.

The plan is to create broadband speeds of between 40 and 100Mbps (megabits per second).

The current average broadband speed in the UK is 6.8Mbps.

It will use either Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology which takes the fibre optic cable straight into homes or the Fibre-to-the-Cabinet technology (FTTC), which is slower because it uses copper wire to connect the street cabinet to users' homes.

"Super-fast broadband will be welcomed by families throughout the area because it will help improve their quality of life and leisure and open new doors through online learning and fast access to information and services," said Ann Beynon, BT director for Wales.

"At a stroke, small and medium sized firms will have access to big business speeds at much lower costs allowing them to find new markets, boost their competitiveness and create new jobs."

Previously there had been criticism that largely rural areas are being left behind, but Ms Beynon said these areas had not been forgotten.

"We have always said they will require a partnership approach with the public sector providing access to the new technology," she said.

Even if fibre broadband is not available the company was testing new technologies to improve speeds, Ms Beynon added.

"It's important that as many homes and business as possible have access to fast broadband and its benefits," she added.

Robert Lloyd Griffiths, executive director of the Institute of Directors Wales, said the faster broadband speeds were vital.

"It gives businesses a competitive edge in today's crowded marketplace and provides access to new markets with the potential of new jobs in challenging economic times."

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