Conwy Communities Show-down with BT

Rural communities in the southern Conwy Council area were given assurances that they should expect Superfast Broadband and Mobile signal over the coming 12 months, following a show-down meeting with BT at Ysbyty Ifan.

Ysbyty Ifan Community Council contacted their Assembly Member, Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd, to ask for his assistance in securing improved Broadband and Mobile signal in the community, following numerous problems with accessing essential communication technology. Mr Gruffydd had worked with several businesses and families in the area on individual issues previously. The Community Council and Mr Gruffydd organised a public meeting with a representative of BT to air their concerns and press the case for the area. Representatives from Ysbyty Ifan, Padog, Nebo, Capel Garmon, and Pentrefoelas attended the meeting.

Geraint Strello, Regional Manager for the BT Group listened to their grievances and gave them assurances that work on improved fibre broadband services would start in January 2017, and was hopeful that most residents would have access to the improved broadband services by June. Mr Strello also emphasised that 96% of the population in Wales should expect to receive Superfast Broadband. But while the other 4% might not have access to 24mb they should still expect at least 10mb. He noted that 1% of homes might not have any access at all.

Mr Strello asked for cooperation from landowners to ensure a swift roll-out saying that refusal to cooperate by some could hold-up the process.

Llyr Gruffydd AM said, “This was a positive meeting and we welcome BT’s commitment to ensure that these communities can access superfast broadband by the middle of next year. We also understand that these communities should also expect improved mobile signal over the coming year. However I have asked BT for regular updates on behalf of these communities, because as we know having an ambition is one thing, but there are often slippages with such large scale projects. Our rural communities often feel neglected and forgotten when it comes to securing modern infrastructure, but it is these communities that depend most on Broadband and Mobile signal. This technology has the ability to improve our rural economy, ensuring that people have an opportunity to stay in their communities to live and work. It is essential that we see these improvements for the future of rural Wales.”

Cllr. Alun Davies, Chair of Ysbyty Ifan Community Council said, “We’d like to thank Llyr Gruffydd AM for working with us and fighting on our behalf. Businesses and families in the area have struggled to get consistent broadband service and are having to go to great costs for simple tasks, such as sending an email to register livestock or to secure a job contract. It was good that BT came to listen to our concerns and promises have been made, but we’ll continue to make our voices heard until we see those promises come to fruition.”

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