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Just weeks after a report from the Welsh government highlighted a general lack of access to high-end connectivity in the country, which it said was “excluding people from modern life”, Ogi, which claims to be Wales’s leading home-grown broadband provider, has ramped up its drive to bring ultrafast gigabit-capable connectivity to communities across Wales, including so-called hard-to-reach areas.
Ogi launched into the market just over a year ago, kick-starting work on its plan to bring full-fibre connectivity to traditionally underserved communities. This latest milestone in its growth sees the company accelerate its programme to take coverage to 80,000 premises. Some 38 of the country’s towns and villages are now set to benefit from the latest phase of Ogi’s initial £200m investment, which the company estimates will deliver long-term economic impact worth up to five times this figure.
The announcement also brings Ogi’s gigabit services to seven local authority areas, marking what is said to be a gear shift in the company’s potential reach. Beyond rural settings, the latest roll-out sees Ogi extend its footprint to bigger, post-industrial urban areas like Bridgend, Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf. It is also injecting around £6m into places like Haverfordwest.
As the company has increased its reach, it has also increased its staff complement, from 20 to almost 140 in 18 months, with the business opening four new regional offices in Newport, Tongwynlais, Cardiff and St Clears, supporting more employees to live and work locally.
The announcement puts Ogi on course to bring fibre broadband access to a third of all premises in Pembrokeshire and comes as a response to the Welsh Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee calls on the Welsh Government to do more to help rural communities access better connectivity.
Ben Allwright, Ogi
In March 2022, the UK government announced that more than 600 hospitals, police stations, libraries and other public buildings in Wales had been connected to full-fibre broadband. It said the move was not just part of its levelling-up strategy for public services, but also marked the completion of the largest public sector broadband project in Wales, potentially making a tangible difference to the lives of families, people and communities.
But the Welsh parliamentary committee’s report found that, despite improvements in recent years, many people are still unable to access adequate internet speeds. Even though superfast broadband availability in Wales is now at 96%, figures from UK regulator Ofcom show that take-up in the country is only around 63% and just one in three premises in Wales currently has access to full fibre-optic connectivity.
Ogi believes its latest plan will help to close the UK’s digital divide in areas that are often labelled as left behind. “Ogi is leading Wales’s digital revolution by bringing full-fibre infrastructure to areas that really need it,” said Ogi’s chief executive officer, Ben Allwright, announcing the ramp-up.
“These iconic communities are bursting with innovation and creativity – and they deserve the best connectivity to help them realise their potential. As we’re seeing in places like Pembrokeshire, only Ogi can make that access a reality. Our networks are enabling businesses to thrive, wherever they are based; helping people to work closer to where they live; and helping families to experience the best possible home entertainment.”