A HYPERFAST broadband trial in rural Monmouthshire could pave the way, if successful, to improved farming, healthcare, and tourism services, the secretary of state for Wales has said.

Alun Cairns was impressed during a recent visit to Llandewi Rhydderch, which has been designated as a “testbed” for high-speed 5G mobile internet.

READ MORE: Praise for rural village's state-of-the-art broadband scheme

Using the latest technology, the 5G connection can deliver internet speeds of up to one gigabit per second (125 megabytes per second) to homes in the village – a welcome relief for residents who had previously struggled slow and unreliable internet connections.


According to independent broadband information website Thinkbroadband.com, the estimated average download speed across Monmouthshire is 77 megabits per second (9.6 megabytes per second).

The scheme uses TV white space – 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.

Llandewi Rhydderch is one of six testbeds to take part in the UK government-funded trial project, which is being managed by Monmouthshire County Council using technology from private firm Broadway Partners.

The other testbeds are in Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Inverness-shire and Perthshire. Together the trial hopes to bring up-to-date internet services to rural, isolated communities.

“It’s great to see first-hand how UK government funding is being used in Monmouthshire to transform connectivity in our rural communities,” Mr Cairns said following his visit to Llandewi Rhydderch.

“There is potential to use 5G to increase food production in farming, improve healthcare in the home and develop apps for tourists – all of which will provide an important boost to our rural economy.

“The UK government is committed to delivering on our promise to create a UK fit for the future, with a thriving digital economy in every part of the country.”

Barry Weaver, of Broadway Partners, was optimistic about the trial leading to a wider introduction of the technology.

“We believe that gigabit connectivity by 2025 is achievable through the right mix of technology, knowhow, and some positive energy,” he said. “The 5G pilot in Monmouthshire proved that gigabit services can be delivered to communities at a very quick speed.

“We are in the process of replicating this all over the country. Let’s get gigabit done.”