Geo Brings Next-generation Communications Network to Wales

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£30 million pound investment heralds new dawn for Welsh business

Geo, a Hutchison Whampoa company and leading provider of bespoke fibre networks, has recently announced that it has won a contract with the Welsh Assembly Government. The first phase of the deal will see a £30 million investment over the next 15 years in the creation of an advanced Open Access Network - FibreSpeed - that will bring next-generation communication services to businesses across the country, starting in North Wales. Part of the financing for the Assembly Government project will come from European Structural Funds, managed by the Assembly Government's Wales European Funding Office - and from Geo, the supplier chosen to build and operate the network.

FibreSpeed is managed by the Department for the Economy and Transport within the Welsh Assembly Government, which has a remit to develop a vibrant Welsh economy delivering strong and sustainable economic growth. FibreSpeed will contribute significantly towards the achievement of this vision and will strengthen Wales' international standing on the global ICT stage. It will not sell directly to the end user, rather it will provide a platform to allow Service Providers, ISPs, Telco's and other organisations that sell ICT services to the Welsh market to offer high speed and high bandwidth communications to businesses and consumers in the area.

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport said: "This is a landmark day for businesses in Wales. We all want a vibrant and booming economy in North Wales, and a high speed communications infrastructure is one of the most important components of that. This implementation will enable organisations in Wales to affordably utilise the communications services that other parts of the UK already enjoy, and will encourage external investment and relocation to the country."

"We have a vision for the Welsh economy, one that involves providing sustainable growth and a move to a knowledge-based economy. This will help allow Welsh employment levels to match the rest of the UK, and will also create a platform to attract and retain high value, high skill jobs. This announcement is a significant step on the way to achieving those goals."

The first phase of the deal will see up to fourteen business parks in North Wales connected via the FibreSpeed network installed by Geo. FibreSpeed will be operated and maintained on a day-to-day basis by Geo, and will support a minimum of symmetrical 10 Mbit/s services with multi-Gigabit capability, and has the capacity for even greater speeds as technology and demand develops. It will also enable the setting of retail prices to match those found in London and other parts of the UK which is critical to improving the competitiveness of businesses based in Wales.

"This contract confirms Geo's position as the leading provider of dedicated fibre networks in the UK" said Chris Smedley, Chief Executive at Geo. "Geo's unique business model means we are able to build and operate an entirely bespoke and open access network for the Welsh Assembly Government to help them in their quest to bring high speed next generation communication services to Wales at prices comparable with the most competitive parts of the UK. We are delighted to be part of such an exciting initiative and look forward to helping transform the Welsh business landscape with FibreSpeed in the coming years."

About Geo:
Geo is the only company in the UK to design and build bespoke dedicated fibre network solutions. Geo's revolutionary and flexible approach means that for the first time, organisations can own and control their networks, ensuring that security, high bandwidth and resilience are guaranteed. Geo provides an extensive range of solutions including fully managed networks, dark fibre, lit fibre and co-location services. Geo.National enables network solutions on a national scale, and Geo.Metro provides users with a 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps Ethernet service within the London area. Customers include mobile operators, service providers, major banks and the public sector. Please visit http://www.geo-uk.net for more information.

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Calypso Harland
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