Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Thursday, 13 January 2011
Villagers get the signal to build mobile phone mast
Duncan Taylor
The mast should be operational by the end of 2011

A rural community with no mobile phone coverage has been given the signal to build its own cellular mast in one of Wales' first projects of its type.

The Ger-y-Gors Community Forum set up its own not-for-profit company to operate the mast and has now secured a £164,542 grant to fund the work.

The mast at Ystrad Meurig will provide coverage for people living in the Pontrhydfendigaid area.

The forum will now apply for funding for two other masts in the area.

The mobile phone companies will pay us rent to put their equipment on the mast which will provide us with enough money to maintain the mast
Duncan Taylor

The mast will be fully operational by the end of the year and it will be leased to phone companies, which had seen the area as commercially unsustainable.

Duncan Taylor, chair of the Ger-y-Gors Community Forum, said the project would be beneficial to the 1,500 people living in the Pontrhydfendigaid area.


"The mast will provide fast and reliable broadband to Pontrhydfendigaid, Ffair Rhos and Ystrad Meurig," he said.

"It will also benefit young people, who these days lead their lives through mobile phones, and provide comfort to elderly people who know they will be able to use their mobile phone if they fall whilst out walking."

Pontrhydfendigaid is the first of three planned locations for coverage

Mr Taylor added that major cellular providers had indicated that leasing space on the mast would be commercially viable for them, whereas providing masts of their own wasn't.

"The mobile phone companies will pay us rent to put their equipment on the mast which will provide us with enough money to maintain the mast," said Mr Taylor.

TV companies

Diane Davies, administration officer of the Bont Pavilion venue in Pontrhydfendigaid, said poor mobile phone coverage had affected the business.

"It has definitely affected members of the business community who have attended conferences at Bont Pavilion," she said.

"It has also been a nuisance for TV companies filming here as well.

"The masts will give a huge boost to the area and allow us to compete with larger venues."

The other two masts are planned for the village of Llanddewi-Brefi, and the town of Tregaron.

The initiative is part of the £1.1m Ceredigion: A Better Place To Live project funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and European Union's Rural Development Plan for Wales.

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