The birth of a lamb on a remote Welsh farm attracted an online audience of thousands – thanks to the roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband by the Superfast Cymru programme.
A video of the happy event was seen by an estimated 13,000 people after being published on Facebook. It brought much welcome publicity for the Cefn Cae’r Ferch farm in Pencaenewydd, near Pwllheli, which specialises in pedigree Texel sheep and also has a holiday cottage.
Dafydd Jones, his wife Dona and children Tomos and Carla, have been benefiting from very fast broadband speeds – up to 200 Mbps – since fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) arrived at the farm.
The video of the birth of the lamb is just one of the ways that Dafydd has used superfast broadband to promote the holiday cottage and showcase his Texel sheep to a wider audience using social media platforms, such as Facebook. The uploading of photos of videos is now much easier.
Visitors to the holiday home have been very impressed with the superfast speed of the broadband, with some commenting it is faster than at home. They are also able to access television on demand services such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube and, as they can access their work remotely, visitors can also extend their break to spend more time in rural Gwynedd.
Dafydd is also able to carry out much of the farming business online. This includes managing the farm’s finances online and using the BCMS animal movement services quickly and with no delays.
He also registers his pedigree Texel lambs online on the Basco sheep service and uses Rural Payments Wales’ online service.
Dafydd said: “We never expected to see fibre optic cable come all the way down to our farm, and it has definitely been worth the wait.
“It has made a huge difference to what we can do on the farm, and to our holiday let. Superfast broadband has brought with it new technology and capabilities for us to exploit.
“It’s also helped with the mobile phone signal, which has been poor before now. With wi-fi calling available on modern handsets we can now make and receive mobile calls, and our visitors can too. It’s reassuring as people know they can be reached or make calls in an emergency.
“It also means we make savings on outbound business and family calls to mobiles.
“People like to get away from it all when they’re on holiday, but they do want to stay connected too. The superfast broadband is allowing them to do just that when they’re staying with us.”
Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, said: “It’s great to see how a rural farm business such as Cefn Cae’r Ferch Farm has benefited from the Superfast Cymru programme.
“This is what the programme is all about - bringing faster internet speeds to areas which would otherwise not receive it.
“It’s good to see how the farm is making the most of the fast speeds they now have so it benefits the farm and the visitors they welcome here.
“Superfast Cymru is making an impact, with over eight out of 10 premises in Wales now able to access superfast broadband compared with just over half two years ago. Wales also has the best superfast broadband coverage among the devolved nations.
“We know there is more to do, and work is continuing to reach more premises every day.”
Alwen Williams, regional director for BT Cymru Wales, said: “Having grown up on a farm I understand how important good connectivity is for our rural farms.
“Throughout society, we’re doing more and more online and farming is no different. Cefn Cae’r Ferch Farm in Gwynedd is just one example of how access to superfast broadband is making a difference and our Openreach engineers continue to work hard to roll-out coverage even further and faster across the country.”
Superfast Cymru is the partnership between the Welsh Government, BT, UK Government and European Regional Development Fund, bringing faster broadband to areas which would otherwise not receive it.
The Welsh Government also runs the Access Broadband Cymru scheme, which can offer assistance to those not able to access superfast broadband by providing grant aid to help them receive it through other technologies.
Further details are available on www.gov.wales/broadband.