FibreSpeed network lights up North Wales

DECEMBER 5, 2008 -- Thanks to a new 200-mile fibre-optic conduit, dubbed FibreSpeed, residents and businesses in the North Wales region will benefit from the kind of affordable, high-speed Internet access that customers in London currently enjoy.

DECEMBER 5, 2008 -- FibreSpeed, a uniquely-funded £30 million project to bring the benefits of fibre-optic technology to businesses and individuals in North Wales, was officially launched on November 27, 2008, and will begin offering service in the Spring, 2009.

FibreSpeed representatives say the North Wales region will now compare with London and the southeast for affordable, high-speed, high-bandwidth Internet communication access, thanks to the new 200-mile fibre-optic conduit linking towns and business parks with the existing high-speed network in England.

At the official launch last month, Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones applauded the success of this partnership between private enterprise and the Welsh Assembly Government--a UK-first for a project of this kind. "This is a perfect example of the Government and the private sector working together to deliver real advantage to the Welsh economy," he said. "This vision could not have been delivered by Government alone--it could only be delivered through partnership."

FibreSpeed's launch marks the first phase of a long-term Assembly Government programme to make affordable high-bandwidth services available throughout Wales. Previously, high-speed services in North Wales were up to six times more expensive than those in London and the South East, hindering business growth and innovation.

The Welsh Assembly Government has estimated that the net economic benefits of FibreSpeed across north Wales could deliver an increase in Gross Value Added (GVA) of up to £29 million per annum for each of the next 10 years.

"Without optical fibre networks, economies cannot evolve," notes Chris Smedley, chief executive of FibreSpeed. "They are the new roads and railways of the 21st Century and beyond. FibreSpeed is boosting ICT capacity, allowing innovation and new services to be delivered to customers and end users. It is stimulating business and encouraging inward investment into North Wales."

Businesses and home users will not be the only beneficiaries of FibreSpeed; communications specialists will be able to sell products and services based on the high-capacity and high speeds the optical fibre network provides. FibreSpeed representatives confirm that 12 service providers are already on board to sell services to end users.

These service providers will also be able to expand the network's reach so that business and home users located near--but not on--the fibre-optic route will be able to connect to it.

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