£500,000 technology boost for Cardiff Council creative industry plans

Following a successful bid for funding, the Welsh Government is providing £500,000 to Cardiff Council to improve the infrastructure which transports fibre optic broadband around the city, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters has announced

The work in Cardiff, which will be completed next year, will join up with ongoing investment in the duct network along the M4 corridor, bringing benefits across the South Wales region.

Across Wales more than 95 per cent of premises can access superfast broadband following the Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru programme.  In addition a further rollout of gigabit speed fibre broadband is taking place in those areas which are not yet able to receive it, with a recent extension focussing on areas with less than 90 per cent coverage.

Businesses and organisations in Cardiff’s fast-growing creative industries sector have been working closely with Cardiff Council for the past 18 months and together they have identified the need for the city to expand its existing fibre optic duct network. This is in order to increase the capacity of the ‘Cardiff Creative Network’ aimed at providing the gigabit broadband speeds required by the sector.

As well as helping underpin the council’s plans to put culture, creativity and innovation at the heart of the city’s development, improvements to the duct network would also have benefits for active travel plans in the city – enabling the potential for data to be collected which could be used to calculate traffic flow, pedestrian footfall and cycle usage as well as monitoring air quality.

Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said: “The funding we are announcing today will improve the fibre infrastructure enabling the provision of gigabit broadband speeds in the city. This will help Cardiff Council with plans they have to provide faster broadband for the creative industries and to monitor transport across the city so they can pinpoint where improvements can be made to encourage active travel.

“By improving and expanding the current fibre ducts system in the city we can make an important contribution to plans to support businesses.

“Elsewhere in Wales the rollout with Openreach, which is part of a package of measures to bring faster broadband to communities, is bringing gigabit speed broadband to premises. We have also topped up the UK Government’s Gigabit Voucher scheme, making it the most generous in the UK.”

Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas said: “Cardiff is already established as one of the UK’s creative powerhouses and the sector supports thousands of jobs and contributes over £1 billion to the economy every year. We want to build on that success and help the sector continue to flourish and one way we can do this is by improving the city’s digital infrastructure.

“There is more to be done, but this important funding from Welsh Government will enable us to start delivering the connectivity needed by the industry and will also support our ongoing work to harness ‘smart’ technology to improve day to day life for people who live and work in Cardiff.

The funding has been welcomed by businesses in the sector. Rich Moss, Managing Director of Gorilla TV, said: “As Wales’ largest Television Post Production company, Gorilla TV welcomes this technology boost from Welsh Government and commends Cardiff Council for its prioritisation of these infrastructure needs.

“Connectivity has never been so relevant and crucial to our business. Not only is this infrastructure a business necessity but with it comes the opportunity for a more diverse and inclusive talent pool to showcase our creative output to global markets, boosting our industry and the economy of Wales.”