The Welsh Assembly Government has announced a £30 million contract to build a fibre network to bring next-generation communication services to businesses across the country, starting in North Wales.
The first phase of the deal will see an investment over the next 15 years in the creation of an advanced Open Access Network known as Fibrespeed. Part of the financing for the Assembly Government project will come from European Structural Funds, managed by the Assembly Government's Wales European Funding Office - and from Geo, the supplier chosen to build and operate the network.
Fibrespeed is managed by the Department for the Economy and Transport within the Welsh Assembly Government, which has a remit to develop a vibrant Welsh economy delivering strong and sustainable economic growth.
Fibrespeed will contribute significantly towards the achievement of this vision and will strengthen Wales' international standing on the global IT stage. It will not sell directly to the end-user, rather it will provide a platform to allow Service Providers, ISPs, telcos and other organisations that sell IT services to the Welsh market to offer high speed and high bandwidth communications to businesses and consumers in the area.
Ieuan Wyn Jones, deputy first minister and minister for the economy and transport said: "We all want a vibrant and booming economy in North Wales, and a high speed communications infrastructure is one of the most important components of that. This implementation will enable organisations in Wales to affordably utilise the communications services that other parts of the UK already enjoy, and will encourage external investment and relocation to the country."
The first phase of the deal will see up to 14 business parks in North Wales connected via the Fibrespeed network installed by Geo. Fibrespeed will be operated and maintained on a day-to-day basis by Geo, and will support a minimum of symmetrical 10 Mbit/s services with multi-Gigabit capability.