To offer optical fibre to service providers at ‘affordable’ prices
Fibrespeed, the first government-supported communications network in UK, has been launched in North Wales, stretching over 200 miles between Holyhead in Anglesey and Manchester.
The £30m public-private partnership is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, European Regional Development Funds and Geo Networks. Geo, a Hutchison Whampoa company that provides bespoke fibre networks, has won the Fibrespeed contract with the Welsh Assembly Government in November 2007.
Fibrespeed is intended to provide high speed communications services to key business parks and other areas throughout North Wales, at an affordable price. Currently the high bandwidth services in North Wales are said to be six times costlier than those in London and South East.
Chris Smedley, CEO of Geo Networks, said: “Fibrespeed will allow North Wales to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the UK for the first time. Its world class infrastructure will create a new local telecoms market while giving businesses the opportunity to innovate, grow or relocate to the region.”
Fibrespeed will equip service providers with wholesale access to high capacity optical fibre infrastructure. Service providers will also be able to extend the network reach to rural areas.
Ieuan Wyn Jones, deputy first minister of Wales and minister for the economy and transport, said: “Networks such as Fibrespeed allow the public and private sectors to share infrastructure and, through selling space to service providers, see the benefits cascade down to businesses and homes in the form of high speed connections and lower bills.”
Fibrespeed has already signed up nine service providers — Advanced Information Systems (AIS), Carrier Wales, Data Cymru, Geo, Hostinguk.net, iData, Comms Management, Integratek and NetServe.