The agreement, subject to state aid and major projects approval from the European Commission is the largest project of its kind in the UK and will make Wales a global leader in fibre broadband.
Revealing details during his monthly news conference, the First Minister outlined how the project will use public and private funds to deliver fibre broadband to parts of the country not covered by commercial plans.
The new fibre broadband will provide speeds that are approximately 15 times faster than those available in Wales today, with ultra-fast broadband providing even faster speeds should businesses need it. More than 1.3 million premises in Wales will have access to world class broadband speeds.
The initiative, which is subject to State aid and major projects approval, will take the total amount invested in Welsh fibre broadband to around £425 million.
A result of winning the contract, BT will create 50 new jobs and 100 new apprenticeships. 320 existing jobs will also be protected. In addition, BT will offer work experience to 900 young people. Up to 2,500 further full time jobs could be created throughout the Welsh economy over time.
Today’s agreement exceeds the target of the UK Government to delivering faster broadband to 90 per cent of the UK population.
The First Minister said:
"This is an incredibly important agreement for Wales. Our partnership with BT will see to it that Wales does more than simply catch up with our neighbours; we intend to catch-up, overtake and then set the pace that others will strive to match. The project will transform the broadband landscape across Wales and ensure that local businesses can become global businesses. 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.
"As a result of Welsh Government, UK Government, European Structural Funds (ERDF) and private sector investment, a solution has been secured that will leverage the funding available to achieve best value for the Welsh pound. We have leveraged over £6 for every £1 invested by the Welsh Government.
"It will be of particular benefit to the tens of thousands of local businesses across Wales. 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."
Liv Garfield, chief executive of Openreach, BT’s local network business which will be deploying the infrastructure, added:
"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. The Welsh Government have shown great vision and we are certain that will pay off in terms of economic growth. The apprenticeships and work experience that we’re offering will mean the role out of this next generation network will inspire the next generation of workers."
Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary, said:
"It's fantastic to see the huge investment both the Welsh Government and BT are making. It is also a major vote of confidence in the skills and experience of our members who will deliver faster broadband services right across Wales. This will help stimulate the Welsh economy, create jobs and is something I feel we can all be proud of."