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£30 million ultrafast broadband boost for south Wales

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More than 87,000 additional homes and businesses across south Wales are a step closer to a major broadband boost thanks to a £30million investment by Openreach.

People living and working in communities across south Wales are due to be upgraded following the company’s latest build announcement, with a new, ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘full fibre’ broadband network being built to most premises in Bridgend, Port Talbot, Neath, Gorseinon, Skewen, Briton Ferry and Seven Sisters.

More than 87,000 additional homes and businesses across south Wales are a step closer to a major broadband boost thanks to a £30million investment by Openreach – the UK’s largest digital network provider, used by more than 660 service providers including the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen.

The news comes as the digital network provider announces it has already reached more than 6 million homes and businesses across the UK with Ultrafast Full Fibre, including around 400,000 properties in Wales.

The latest plans are a further boost for Wales as they follow news earlier this year that hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses would be getting access to Openreach’s new network, including tens of thousands in rural and harder to serve areas of the country including Abersoch, Bethesda, Borth, Cardigan, Nefyn, Nelson, Narberth, Llantwit Major & Kidwelly.

Welcoming the announcement Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters said: “The importance of fast reliable broadband has become even more apparent utility and we welcome this investment as a key part of the market effort to boost connections across South Wales”.

Connie DixonOpenreach’s regional director for Wales, said: “Good connectivity is vital – whether it’s to work from home, access education and care services, or for gaming and streaming entertainment – and that’s why we’re investing across the UK to upgrade our network to 25 million premises.”

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“Nobody’s building faster, further or to a higher standard across Wales and the rest of the UK than Openreach, and we’ve already reached six million homes and businesses with ultrafast full fibre technology, including around 400,000. It’s proving popular as well, with around 23% already choosing to start using it.

Our engineers and build partners are reaching more communities every week and we’re not just building in cities and urban areas. Many rural and hard to reach communities are already benefitting and we plan to reach many more in the coming months and years.”

Across the UK, more than one 1.3 million homes and businesses have already ordered a full fibre service from a range of retail service providers using the Openreach network. But this means millions are yet to start benefiting from some of the fastest, most reliable broadband connections in the world and have yet to upgrade.

Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in Wales to full fibre. It estimated this would create a £2 billion boost to the local economy.

Openreach engineers have been working hard to make the technology available to as many people as possible throughout the UK – at times reaching 47,000 premises a week – and work will continue between now and 2026

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The company’s plans are fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable’ broadband to 85 per cent of UK by 2025. The company plans to reach a total of 25 million premises by the end of December 2026, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country defined by industry regulator Ofcom.

(Lead image: Openreach)

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Briton Ferry

Unlicensed Briton Ferry landlord pleads guilty in Rent Smart Wales prosecution

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A landlord refused a Rent Smart Wales licence to carry out letting and management activities has been found guilty of managing his properties illegally.

Derrick Morgan, of Crossways, Parc Newydd, Briton Ferry, continued to issue tenancy agreements and collect rent from tenants living in his properties in Neath Port Talbot, despite having been refused a licence by Rent Smart Wales in 2019.

All landlords and agents in Wales who undertake letting and management work at rental properties are legally required to have a Rent Smart Wales licence.

At Cardiff Magistrates Court, Mr Morgan pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the requirements of a notice served as part of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. He was found guilty of a further two charges under the Act including failure to be licensed to carry out letting and property management work and was fined £4,620 and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs and a £190 victim surcharge.

Investigations into the management of Mr Morgan’s portfolio began after Rent Smart Wales suspected a requirement to appoint a licensed agent to manage his properties, following the refusal of his own licence, had not been met. Information requested about the management of the properties was not provided.

Mr Morgan did appoint various agents to manage his properties but continued to carry out management tasks himself – contrary to the requirement to hold a licence to be able to do so. 

Cllr Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Cardiff Council, the single licensing authority for Rent Smart Wales, said: “The requirement for landlords and agents to hold a Rent Smart Wales licence to carry out letting and property management activities is in the legislation for a reason, and it is to ensure that individuals carrying out these duties are suitable to do so and are appropriately trained in their rights and obligations.

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“Unfortunately, despite appointing licensed agents to act on his behalf to manage his properties, Mr Morgan continued to be involved, including liaising directly with tenants, and now he must pay the price for that error.

“This is a good time to remind all tenants living in private rented accommodation who have a landlord that carries out letting or management duties to check their landlord is licensed. Checks can be carried out quickly and anonymously by visiting the Rent Smart Wales public register here: https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/check-register/

“If your landlord isn’t licensed, let us know by calling 03000 133344 or via the website www.rentsmart.gov.wales

Lead image: File photo (Image: Wikimedia / Creative Commons / Albert Bridge)

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