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Welsh county with poorest broadband coverage promised superfast upgrade

The broadband crawl of Wales’ slowest county will get a boost this year as Ceredigion in West Wales is upgraded with fibre technology.

The county has the poorest broadband coverage in Wales, and only three counties in Northern Ireland and the Isles of Scilly have worse broadband in the UK, according to an Ofcom report published in 2013.

Work to upgrade the county’s woeful broadband will begin in April 2014 in the Aberystwyth area. The upgrade will also aim to provide improved broadband connectivity to all schools in the county.

Ceredigion council leader Ellen ap Gwynn said schools already have the necessary equipment to take advantage of superfast broadband.

“The roll out will also be important for individuals and businesses in this rural county,” she told the BBC.

The upgrade won’t deliver fibre direct to every home, but most lines will benefit from fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), which can lift speeds above 80Mbps on short distances and improve very poor long-distance connections from sub-1Mbps to something more useful.

Chairman of Aberystwyth Chamber of Trade, Chris Mackenzie-Grieve, said that at present broadband is very slow in most of the county’s villages.

“This will be good news for people who work from home although I’m not sure if it substitutes a good rail and train network servicing the county,” he added.

Around 21.7 per cent of premises in Ceredigion have broadband speeds of less than 2Mbps, and Wales has the lowest proportion of premises with access to superfast broadband: around 48 per cent compared to a UK average of 73 per cent.

Image: Geograph/Steve Chapple

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