Can communities make informed decisions about broadband solutions if they are informed with correct information?
Broadband access has improved in recent years in Gwynedd and Anglesey, but many communities still do not have access to Superfast Broadband. This can vary from whole villages such as Croesor and Llanymawddwy in Gwynedd, to small dispersed areas in the Seiriol and Bodorgan ward in Anglesey.
This project aims to provide communities with information to explore other broadband options.
These include the following:
- TV Whitespace (https://www.nominet.uk/tvws-brings-broadband-to-rural-wales/ )
- Community Wifi (http://www.aberdaronlink.co.uk/wi-fi.html )
- B4RN Self Dig Fibre Network (https://b4rn.org.uk/ )
- Line of sight wireless broadband (https://blaze-wireless.co.uk/wc.php )
A delegation from Anglesey and Gwynedd recently visited a project in Lancashire to see how B4RN had provided 1GB broadband speeds to 3,000 residents in business in the county, with no involvement from the main providers. There is also an example in South Wales in the village of Michaelston Y Fedw: (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jun/27/welsh-village-residents-dig-15-miles-trenches-faster-wifi-michaelston-y-fedw)
Through an open call process, a community representative will be invited to access the following specialist support:
- Guidance on defining current broadband provision in an area and the main barriers to accessing improved speed.
- Support to identify likely demand for improved broadband provision
- Introduction to different technologies to provide broadband
- An introduction to community models that allow residents to own and manage the broadband service
The support provided would be through a series of workshops and 1 to 1 support through site visits. It must be emphasised that the main aim is to ‘build capacity’ to enable communities to devise and develop their own solution.
Communities with capacity will be well placed to access funding through various sources to implement their schemes e.g. the RCDF Broadband Voucher Scheme, WG. Successful applications were received during the EOI period in Gwynedd and Anglesey to fund up to 5 broadband solutions in each County.