THE Welsh government's deputy minister for economy, Lee Waters, paid a recent visit to Llanddewi Rhydderch to learn more about the hyperfast broadband scheme which is being piloted in the village.

Mr Waters said the government was actively looking at innovative ways to bring fast, reliable broadband to very rural areas – targeting the final five per cent of premises currently without access.

The new scheme is part of a government-backed 5G pilot, managed by Monmouthshire County Council and delivered by Broadway Partners. Using state-of-the-art technology, the 5G connection delivers speeds of 1 gigabit per second to residents in hard-to-connect properties who previously had to suffer slow and buffering connections.

The scheme uses TV white space, which is the unused TV channels available following the switch to digital. TV white space also has the potential of connecting the “internet of things”, making a connected home or work space a reality by offering a broadband signal capable of handling multiple devices.

The project has benefited from the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh government.

Speaking after his visit to Llanddewi Rhydderch, Mr Waters said: “We have come a long way in Wales, with over 95 per cent of premises now able to access superfast broadband, compared with under 50 per cent when we began Superfast Cymru. This progress is largely as a result of our intervention as private companies had no plans to rollout the infrastructure in large parts of Wales.

“Despite this progress we want to reach the remaining five per cent. Many of these will be in very rural areas and while we are investing over £22 million in a further fibre rollout it will not be possible to reach all of these through this technology alone.

"We need to look at innovative solutions, as part of a package of measures, which includes fibre, to make a difference in all communities.

“Different technology such as TV white space and other emerging wireless developments will have a greater role in the mix of delivering faster speeds to those in very rural areas."