RESIDENTS in Carmarthenshire’s rural areas struggling with internet connection are being encouraged to sign up to a new grant scheme.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, has sent letters to rural communities who have slow internet speed encouraging them to register their interest for a significant contribution towards the costs of getting quicker and more reliable internet connections into their homes or businesses.

The council is working alongside both UK and Welsh Governments to promote the Broadband Upgrade Fund to help rural businesses, employees and communities take advantage of all the benefits associated with faster and more reliable internet connections.

Rural residents can get up to £1,500 and small to medium-sized businesses up to £3,500 to upgrade to gigabit broadband, which is capable of download speeds of 1 gigabit (1000 megabits) per second. If the residents have less than 30 Mbps they may be eligible for a top-up from Welsh Government which doubles the voucher value of up to £7000 for SMEs and £3000 for homes.

Residents and businesses have until September 30 to register. Registering alone does not guarantee that fibre installation will follow – but the more properties that register, the more likely a commercial supplier will recognise the demand and take up the opportunity to complete the installation of fibre broadband in the area.

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People unable to register online or unable to ask a family member or neighbour to help you, can send a written response with full name, the first line of address, postcode, and an email address (if available) to Ceri Jenkins, County Hall, Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, SA31 1JP or email CeJenkins@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

Carmarthenshire County Council leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said:

“We welcome this new scheme and would strongly recommend rural residents and businesses with slow internet speeds register their interest now. The more homes that do, the more likely a commercial supplier will recognise the demand for installing fibre broadband in their area. Digital connectivity is an essential utility in today’s world and underpins almost every aspect of modern living across work, travel, leisure and health. Fast, reliable connectivity is vital to support business growth, help rural communities to thrive, improve health and well-being, and make it easier for people to get online and access public services. This has been particularly highlighted during the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

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