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Swansea bar hits the airwaves

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THE HYST BAR has turned itself as a live music and entertainments venue and plans to become a broadcaster with its own TV channel – all thanks to ultrafast broadband.

Formerly known as the Coast Italia restaurant, the High Street based outlet is one of around 35 businesses piloting the latest ultrafast technology, known as G.fast, a broadband service capable of delivering download speeds of up to 330Mbps – more than 10 times the UK national average.

The newly transformed venue now boasts its own purpose built digital TV and radio studio along with a stage area for featuring live performances from local bands to interviews with local celebrities.

The project, which launched in March, is a collaboration between local restaurateur, Dan Evans, Ed Thomas, the production designer responsible for Dr Who, Torchwood and Resident Evil, and singer, songwriter and BBC Radio Wales presenter Mal Pope.

Dan said they hope the new venture will provide a platform to help promote new up and coming bands and performers from the arts world as well as exposing The Hyst to a wider audience.

Ultrafast broadband speeds allow Hyst to stream TV quality images from live performances to social media channels like YouTube and Facebook. They’re currently working with local cable channel Bay TV to broadcast content – with plans to launch their own dedicated cable channel in the near future, featuring daily broadcasts.

Dan said: “We started out three years ago as a restaurant but is has only been in the last few months that this has all taken off. We started doing more light entertainment and that started to take over from the food side, so we decided to expand.

“We got ultrafast installed last year and on the back of that we thought about showcasing the acts that played and thought ‘why not film it and start broadcasting to a wider audience?’”

“The concept is a bit like BBC Two’s Later with Jools Holland or Channel Four’s TFI Friday. People can sit and eat or wander around with a drink from the bar and watch a band in a relaxed atmosphere.

“We’ve got cameras around the place so we can film everything – we even thought about having guest chefs with live cameras so people in the bar can see their food being cooked.”

The venue has already hosted Scottish pop rock back Texas and live interviews with Swansea runner Matthew Rees – who hit the headlines after stopping to help fellow marathon runner David Wyeth over the finishing line.

Dan said: “It is no exaggeration to say that we couldn’t physically do any of this without having the ultrafast broadband to power it all. Digitally broadcasting TV quality live or recorded content uses up a lot of bandwidth and without the ultrafast speeds it just wouldn’t work. It has helped what was a small independent business move onto the next level.”

Around 13,000 households and businesses in Swansea and locations including, Gowerton, Landore, Townhill and Oystermouth, are set to benefit from the high-speed service as Openreach has begun switching on the pilot areas for its new ultrafast broadband network.

The faster speeds that ultrafast broadband brings means a two hour HD film can be downloaded in just 90 seconds, a 45 minute HD TV show in just 16 seconds and a nine hour audio book in just three seconds.

People living in the pilot areas who want to try the new service should contact their internet service provider to see if they’re offering a service, and to find out more about availability and pricing.

Ynyr Roberts, Openreach’s project director for regional infrastructure delivery in Wales, said: “These pilot schemes are hugely important to us and to the local households and businesses, which will be able to benefit from G.fast. Whether you are somebody aiming to work more efficiently or grow your business, or a busy household going online for shopping, entertainment or studies, fast access to the internet has never been more important. We know the technology works and can be a major benefit for customers, but these pilots will now help us test and improve all the factors involved in rolling out G.fast on a national scale.”

Kim Mears, Openreach managing director for infrastructure delivery, added: “The UK is ahead of its major European neighbours when it comes to superfast broadband but technology never stands still – that’s why we’re building on our existing network and leading the way in deploying ultrafast speeds.

“We need to stay ahead to meet the future needs of our customers and G.fast will help us to do that. It gives busy families and ambitious small businesses the capacity to do everything they want to do online, and it’s a technology that we can roll out more quickly than most broadband upgrade, so we’ll be getting ultrafast speeds to the largest number of people in the fastest possible time.”

Swansea was announced as a pilot location for G.fast in October 2016, as part of Openreach’s ambition to make ultrafast broadband available to 12 million UK homes by the end of 2020.

G.fast technology changes the way today’s broadband is transmitted, delivering ultrafast speeds that have previously required fibre to be run all the way to the premises (FTTP). This is significant as G.fast will enable Openreach, the local network business which is part of BT Group, to make ultrafast fibre available to a much larger number of homes and businesses and more quickly than if it had focused on FTTP alone.

It builds on the success of the rollout of superfast broadband, which has already reached thousands of homes and businesses across Swansea and Wales. Overall, more than nine out of ten premises across the UK can access superfast speeds today with around another 17,000 homes and businesses being enabled each week.

Following the early trials of G.fast in Cambridgeshire, Newcastle and South Wales, the 17 pilot areas have extended that reach even further – already reaching more than 100,000 homes across the UK.

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Business

The Range’s Swansea Store Shortlisted for ‘Best Christmas Display’

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Christmas has arrived early for The Range stores in Wales, boasting gigantic displays of all-things festive! The Range is well known for going all out during the Christmas season to create a fun and magical experience full of trees, lights, decorations and much more for their customers to enjoy and this year is no exception. The Range in Swansea surpassed expectations with a display so great, it’s left them shortlisted for ‘Best Christmas Display’ out of all The Range’s 182 stores.

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Local coronavirus restrictions imposed to control outbreaks in South Wales

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Coronavirus laws are being tightened in four more Welsh authorities – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport – following a sharp rise in cases, Health Minister Vaughan Gething today announced.

The new measures will come into force at 6pm on Tuesday 22 September 2020, to protect people’s health and control the spread of the virus in the four local authority areas.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport:

People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households;
All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm;
Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales.
From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September, the requirement for all licensed premises to close at 11pm will also be extended to Caerphilly borough.

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“Following the decision to place additional coronavirus restrictions in place in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf, we have seen a worrying and rapid rise in cases in four other south Wales council areas – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport.

“In many cases, this is linked to people socialising indoors without social distancing. We are seeing evidence of coronavirus spreading. We need to take action to control and, ultimately, reduce its spread and protect people’s health.

“It’s always a difficult decision to introduce restrictions but coronavirus has not gone away – it is still circulating in communities across Wales and, as we are seeing in parts of South Wales, small clusters can quickly cause real issues in local communities.

“We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”

The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.

The Welsh Government will call an urgent meeting of all local authority, health board and police forces from Bridgend to the English border tomorrow to discuss the wider situation in South Wales and whether further measures are needed across the region to protect people’s health.

The new local restrictions measures will be kept under regular review. They will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.

Keep Wales safe by:

Always keeping your distance
Washing your hands regularly
Working from home wherever you can
Following any local restrictions
Following the rules about meeting people
Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.

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Welsh legislation will restrict those travelling from hotspot areas

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MARK Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, has today announced legislation which will restrict those coming from coronavirus hotspot’s from travelling to Wales.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has refused to impose rules which prohibit those from areas where the infection rate is high from entering low virus rate areas’s.

Mr Drakeford has made two requests to the Prime Minister requesting to impose rules which will mean those from high virus areas in England be prohibited from travelling to Wales, a request which has been denied by Mr Johnson.

The powers set by Mr Drakeford will come into force by the end of the week, unless Boris Johnson takes action sooner.

Speaking at the Plenary today, Mr Drakeford made the announcement, stating if Mr Johnson does not reply to his request by Friday then The Welsh Government will bring in legislation to restrict travel from those in English lockdown areas travelling to Wales.

Mr Drakeford said this was not a case of all those from England being restricted travel to Wales, just hotspot areas.

He said: “Evidence from public health professionals suggests coronavirus is moving from east to west across the UK and across Wales. As a general rule, it is concentrating in urban areas and then spreading to more sparsely populated areas as a result of people travelling.

“Much of Wales in now subject to local restriction measures because levels of the virus have risen and people living in those areas are not able to travel beyond their county boundary without a reasonable excuse. This is designed to prevent the spread of infection within Wales and to other areas of the UK.

“We are preparing to take this action to prevent people who live in areas where there are higher Covid infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales and bringing the virus with them.

“I am determined to keep Wales safe.”

The legislation, which is understood to come into force Friday, October 16 at 6pm, will mean those travelling to Wales from areas of England which are classed as virus hotspot’s will be restricted.

The new legislation also restricts those travelling into Wales from high virus prevalence areas from Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament – Paul Davies MS – has rounded on the First Minister over a ban on people entering Wales from England, and the Labour Party’s inability or unwillingness to publish comprehensive data proving that transmission rates are accelerating due to travel.

Mr Davies took the First Minister to task during Plenary today (October 14), and referred to a statement made by the leader of the Labour Party on September 23 when he said that the Welsh Government was not seeing any spikes at all in infection due to travel and tourism.

Mr Davies said that the people of Wales deserve to have sight of the data that underpins the Welsh Labour-led Government’s position on this matter, so that they can be confident that the Government’s actions are proportionate to the threat of the virus in their area.

Mr Davies also referred to a paper that accompanied the First Minister’s letter to the Prime Minister yesterday, a paper – that was not peer-reviewed – that confirms the data “…does not constitute definitive proof” in favour of a travel ban.

Mr Davies said: “The First Minister and his Government have acted rashly and without examining a range of other factors before a conclusion on whether to impose a travel ban or not is reached, while at the same time seemingly ignoring the fact that transmission rates in relation to travel had already peaked in August and September.

“It is incumbent on the First Minister to explain just why he has chosen to act in this way, and what supporting evidence he and his Ministers have seen to justify a ban and then publish it so it can be properly scrutinised.

“If he cannot or will not, then he must review and rescind this ban immediately.”

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