The dream of establishing fast and reliable internet services moved a step closer to reality for one of Monmouthshire’s most rural communities. Earlier this year a voluntary body, BiGDiG (Broadband in Greater Devauden interest group) approached the county council for help to improve the local intermittent internet connection. Months later, BiGDiG now awaits approval of its funding application to the Welsh Government and Monmouthshire County Council before it instructs locally based Spectrum Internet, a leading provider, to deliver superfast broadband to the area. The Welsh Government application needs a minimum of 90 households to complete forms and speed checks before formal approval can begin.
Andy Williams, chair of BiGDiG commented: “We've had a really strong response from the community, with over 100 households submitting Welsh Government grant applications for our community bid. Obviously we would like as many as we can get, so we've extended our deadline to November 5th to allow those that want to be a part of BiGDiG to get their forms done and - just as importantly - their speed checks completed. We've made the speed check really fast and easy at www.bigdig.com."
Giles Phelps, managing director of Spectrum Internet said: “We are proud to have been chosen to work with BiGDiG. This will be our fourth community broadband initiative in Wales. We’ll be using the very latest superfast technologies bringing fibre optic broadband to the centre of Devauden and to the Wolvesnewton telephone exchange. From there the ultrafast services are delivered to homes over existing telephone lines using all new technology. Some remote homes may be served by wireless links.”
Local resident and Deputy Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, Bob Greenland was one of the first to sign up for the service. “It’s a no brainer really” he commented. “Very much quicker speeds will allow me to work efficiently from home and use services like iPlayer and Skype without interruption or poor quality and with very little increase in costs. I’d be mad not to do it. I just hope other groups in the county will take the lead from BiGDiG and bring what is fast becoming an essential fourth utility to all rural areas of the county.”