Homes and businesses in Monmouthshire’s Llanthony Valley and the adjoining Vale of Ewyas will receive improved internet connections over the next 14 months thanks to a grant awarded to the county council from the Welsh Government’s Local Broadband Fund.

The project will enable the area’s communities to connect to a new mixed fibre-optic and wireless gigabit-capable network.  All residents who choose to connect to the network will receive internet connections with minimum download speeds of 50 Mbps. The new network will be carrier-grade and will enable the future improvement of the area’s mobile phone connectivity.

While the Llanthony Valley is one of the most beautiful and historically significant parts of the county it has also been one of the most poorly connected – existing internet speeds are slow and there is little mobile phone coverage.  Of its 122 premises, 30% are businesses – mostly agricultural or tourism – and the new broadband provision will provide a massive boost to residents, visitors and local enterprise.

Following the award of the grant by the Welsh Government the next scheme’s step is the appointment of a supplier. Plans to finalise the network are likely to be complete by the spring and the first connections are scheduled for early in the summer.  While no date has been set for completion, final connections are expected by March 2022 – the end of the 2021/22 financial year.

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for community development, Councillor Sara Jones said: “I’m delighted for the communities of the Llanthony Valley and the Vale of Ewyas and very grateful for this grant funding.  Without it, the delivery of better internet by commercial providers would have been unlikely due to the area’s challenging topography.  While poor connectivity has existed for some time the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted its negative effects, so the award is timely and marvellous news for the area’s residents, tourists and businesses.”

·         For more information on the Welsh Government’s local broadband scheme, log onto: https://gov.wales/local-broadband-fund