“We were told we would never get fast broadband here”

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A farming family in Ambleston, who were told fast broadband would never reach their home, are now enjoying superfast fiber speeds, thanks to a pioneering project in Pembrokeshire.

The remote location of Anne and Richard James’ cattle farm caused previous engineers to be told that they could receive nothing but their slow service along the old copper line.

Line issues added to the frustration of barely receiving a pitiful 1 Mbps, and the property sometimes went days without any service.

Anne said: “The engineer, the last time he came, said we would never have broadband here.”

After signing up to join the Digital Pembrokeshire project, which uses government vouchers to enable gigabit-enabled fiber connections, Mr and Mrs James are now delighted to receive a reliable broadband connection.

Ambleston was one of Pembrokeshire’s pilot project areas, and the community chose internet providers Broadway Partners to build the new fiber network.

Hayog Farm went online at the end of November, after a long line of new poles were installed along their long track to bring full gigabit-capable fiber directly to their property.

The whole family now enjoys consistent broadband service, allowing the beef and arable farm to complete essential administrative tasks online, while the couple’s two sons can work from home and quickly download games and movies online. all simplicity.

Anne said: ‘We have to report all movements etc. online, we are lucky to be able to do everything we need to do.

“It’s been a bit of a boost for the business, he’s there when you need him.”

“We have to do things online, we can’t do without broadband these days. It’s a basic. »

Son Rhys had to return home from Swansea University in 2020 to complete his dissertation online before the family was upgraded, and sometimes had no choice but to work with a relative.

He said: “Sometimes it didn’t work at all, when I was doing my thesis I had to use a hotspot for my laptop and sometimes we were without broadband for days.”

Rhys can now work from home for an Essex-based utility company and can take part in uninterrupted video calls.

The Jameses were also pleasantly surprised that the price of their 100Mbps fiber plan was lower than what they had paid before, and are now considering getting rid of their landline and replacing it with a digital alternative.

Anne added: “It has benefited the whole family.

“That’s the reliability we need. We never thought we would get fiber here to be honest.

“We are not usually the first to anything in Pembrokeshire, and it is here that we need it most. This is a good thing for rural areas.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, Cllr Paul Miller, said: “We are committed to ensuring that all parts of Pembrokeshire have access to fiber optic broadband and when we say everyone, we mean everyone.

“Agricultural track or not, our ambition is to connect every property in Pembrokeshire to a high-speed fiber optic network.

“It’s really nice to see teams across Pembrokeshire laying fiber and connecting homes and businesses.”

Michael Armitage, CEO of Broadway Partners, said: “Through the Pembrokeshire Ultrafast Broadband project, we have had a wonderful opportunity to connect digitally deprived communities across Wales and it is great to see our efforts making a difference. meaningful and tangible in people’s lives.

“This is a momentous time for Hayog Farm, and we’re thrilled to have not only improved a company’s productivity, but enhanced its remote working experience.

“This program is a welcome step in bridging the connectivity gap between rural and urban areas, and we look forward to advancing the communities of Herbrandston, Wiston and Slebech, among others, on their journey to reaping the benefits of broadband. Ultra fast.”

For more information see pembrokeshire.gov.uk/broadband

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