A host of projects to connect rural areas in Powys with faster internet are potentially at risk, after a broadband provider with the aim of connecting up homes was placed in administration.
Broadway Partners has been working on seven community schemes in the county with the aim of bringing ultrafast fibre connections to more homes in rural areas. It had also been expected to become the supplier for several others that were still at the stage of assessing demand.
The only community broadband scheme in the county where homes have been connected to ultrafast fibre so far, by Broadway Partners, is Aberedw and Glascwm. Customers in this area have been advised by the company that its network is still functioning and that its usual customer service channels remain open.
There are hopes that a buyer may be found during the administration process.
Powys County Council has said it is "keeping a close eye" on developments after the news broke this week. The council also says that, if necessary, they will look to work with the affected communities to source an alternative provider.
Cllr Jake Berriman, the council’s Cabinet Member for a Connected Powys, said: “While the situation with Broadway Partners evolves, there may be delays or changes to currently planned projects in the county.
“We will do all we can as a supporter of these schemes to minimise disruption and remain committed to securing reliable, high-speed connectivity for as many of our communities as possible.
“Delivering improved digital access to rural homes and businesses remains a key part of our plans to build a stronger, fairer and greener Powys.”
The other communities in Powys that Broadway Partners has been working with are Llanafan Fawr and Llanwrthwl, Dwyriw and Manafon, Llangunllo and Whitton, Nantmel, Rhayader, and Painscastle.
Broadway Partners has appointed Teneo Financial Advisory as administrator.
Benji Dymant, joint administrator at Teneo, said: "Following significant investment in Ultrafast Full Fibre broadband, the sector has been facing into a number of adverse macroeconomic issues, including raising interest rates and inflation, in a highly competitive environment.
"Despite having successfully connected a range of outlying communities to its network, Broadway has not been immune to the impact of these issues.
"As a result, it's been necessary to file for administration to facilitate a restructure of the business and provide a stable platform to affect a sale."
MP for Brecon and Radnorshire Fay Jones has confirmed she is set to meet the Minister upon the return of Parliament next week to discuss the matter and the continued rollout of the networks. She will also be continuingto meet Openreach to discuss their full fibre rollout plans.
Ms Jones said: “The collapse of Broadway Partners will be unsettling for many residents who were looking forward to the life-changing impact that can come with a stable and fast internet connection, as well as to existing customers, particularly in Aberedw and Glascwm.
"I will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves and am set to meet the Minister upon the return of Parliament next week to lobby for the continued rollout of these networks, in addition to my continuing conversations with Openreach regarding their rollout.”
Broadway Partners has been approached by the Brecon & Radnor Express for comment.