Business in Wales will be able to access superfast broadband services by 2015 after the Welsh government announced the start of a nationwide rollout programme costing £425m.
The project will be run by BT, which is to contribute around £220m to the funding, which said it would provide speeds of up to 80Mbit/s by 2015 with some areas receiving speeds as high as 330Mbit/s.
The rest of the funding will come be broken down into £58m from the Welsh government, £57m from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and around £90m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
However, the project will require the greenlight from the European Commission (EC) before it can officially begin.
Wales' first minister, Carwyn Jones, said the rollout was vital for the economic future of the country.
"The project will transform the broadband landscape across Wales and ensure that local businesses can become global businesses," he said.
"It will ensure that firms remain in Wales and it will also attract a more diverse range of high growth, high value companies to the country across all our key sectors from tourism to high end manufacturing."
The rollout will be managed by BT Openreach, meaning that other service providers will be able to sell services on the network which should lead to a competitive market for homes and businesses looking for services.
"This project will position Wales as a broadband leader and we are delighted to have signed this contract with the Welsh government to make it happen. Wales will become one of the best connected countries in the world and will be ahead of the chasing pack," said chief executive of BT Openreach, Liv Garfield.
The project will also create 50 new jobs in BT and secure 320 more, as well as creating 100 apprenticeships.
The project is the second confirmed this week BT after it announced its involvement in a project totalling £70m in North Yorkshire to install fibre across the region.
However, while there is an ongoing push around highspeed broadband services, take-up of such connections among consumers remains low as revealed by Ofcom research earlier this week.
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