Crai Community Broadband Project
Alternative broadband in Crai.
The roll out of superfast fibre infrastructure has provided better connectivity for some but in more rural locations alternative solutions are required.
The local community of Crai in the Brecon Beacons were faced with just such a problem. With help from Powys County Council and Welsh Government’s Access Broadband Cymru scheme the residents were able to develop their own community broadband solution. This is their journey…
This project was commenced in June 2016, by David Ross, Peter Barrow, and Charles Weston from Crai with the full support of the Crai Hall Management Committee, with the sole aim of finding a solution to poor broadband speeds in the local community. Discussions were held with Powys County Council’s Regeneration Team, to examine ways in which this project could be both financed and supported by a suitable Internet Service Provider.
A public meeting was held in Crai Community Hall in early December 2016 to gauge local support for the project. The meeting was a great success with over 60 households, farms and businesses indicating a willingness to join the scheme.
Following the submission of two detailed bids from suppliers interested in delivering a solution for the Crai community, the Crai Hall Management Committee called an extraordinary meeting in March 2017, with discussions on the merits of each of the proposals. This culminated in a unanimous vote in favour of appointing DyfedIT as the community’s preferred Internet Service Provider.
DyfedIT is a Carmarthenshire-based rural Internet connectivity specialist company also known as Dyfed Superfast (the rural broadband arm of Dyfed IT). Their high speed wireless broadband network can deliver connection speeds of up to 30mbps with unlimited data to around 70 residential and business subscribers.
A further public meeting was held in the hall hosted by DyfedIT to give information about their service and equipment. This was also an opportunity to get applications completed for the grants under Welsh Government’s Access Broadband Cymru Scheme to cover the installation cost of the project. Up to 70 applications were processed for a combined community bid. The project still has capacity to extend its reach and further additional applications are anticipated as the network grows.
Following a successful planning application made to The Brecon Beacons National Parks Authority, a mast has now been installed on the hill at Brychgoed, with repeater stations located at the Village Hall, Waunnewydd and elsewhere, to bring connections to all parts of the community. Subscribers have a small dish receiver installed free of charge to connect to the network.
The project has been a great success delivering a fast internet service right across the community and the launch of the project was highlighted on BBC Wales News.
More help and advice on access to Superfast Broadband services is available from Welsh Government
For help and advice contact the council’s Regeneration team on 01597 827656 or email: Regeneration@powys.gov.uk