www.newswales.co.uk has details on the take-up figures for broadband across the counties in the country. Overall Wales has a take-up of 43%, up by 4% on 2005. Anglesey in the North West of the country is the county with the most improvement rising from 29% to 40%. Powys now has 39% and Wrexham at 42% take-up.
The take-up leaders being Newport (51%), with Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan closely behind at 50%. The survey of 5,500 residents that has arrived at these figures also shows that 26% of residents have connection speeds faster than 1Mbps.
An Ofcom report earlier in 2006 gives some idea of the challenges ahead for Wales. The number of phone lines with a length of under 2km is reasonable in comparison with the rest of the UK, but it seems that the country has more people on 5km or longer phone line than lots of other regions (82% of lines are estimated at under 5km long). A line of 5km in length could probably manage around 3Mbps using rate adaptive ADSL. This combined with the low and basically static cable coverage figure of 22.6% and low LLU availability 15.4%, means that Welsh broadband customers generally have only the option of BT Wholesale services, albeit with a myriad of competition on the retail packaging of these services.
The Cardiff area is set to be at the vanguard of the 21CN roll-out, but in broadband terms this means little at present. Hopefully Cardiff will be used as the centre piece for broadband improvements from BT after 21CN is up and running.
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