Skip Navigation

BT announced as company to drive Welsh broadband ambitions
Thursday 19 July 2012 15:24:35 by Andrew Ferguson

BT has announced in its own press release that the group has won the contract to provide superfast broadband to those parts of Wales where commercial funding alone was not likely to reach in the next three years.

The project comprises £58m from the Welsh Government, £57m from the BDUK and £90m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The exact level of match funding from BT is unknown, but a total of £220m from BT which is the sum of pure commercial investment and match funding for Wales brings us to the headline investment of £425m. While exact figures are not available, we are led to understand that around one third of the investment by BT is from existing commercial roll-out plans, the majority being new investment as part of the project. Interestingly the project completion date is the end of 2015, and not the more common May 2015.

"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."

Wales’ First Minister, Carwyn Jones

The target for when the project completes in 2015 looks ambitious, with 96% of homes and businesses having access to an up to 80 Mbps service. There will be some (proportion unknown) of FTTP, but the majority will be FTTC, with those businesses and home owners who want faster being able to pay the install cost for Fibre on Demand (FoD).

For the remaining 4%, which is a vast improvement on the 20% of Wales that currently receives 2 Mbps or less, then things are not totally clear, but the press release says "According to Ofcom, more than 20 per cent of Welsh homes currently receive such speeds but that number will fall to around two per cent when the roll-out is complete. The Welsh Government is developing plans to address any remaining premises which will form the final phase of its commitment to making Wales a broadband nation.". There seems to be a disjoint between the headline 96% figure, and the 2% figure, as in where has the other 2% gone? It is feasible that this refers to those homes which will have very long copper distances to their telephone cabinet, and thus while they will get better speeds with a full FTTC roll-out, they won't meet the superfast definition.

Hitting a 96% figure for superfast broadband, will mean that we expect every Openreach street cabinet to be enabled for FTTC (VDSL2) services, particularly as for longer cabinet to premises telephone lines do not perform very well for VDSL2. Careful targeting of FTTP could alleviate this problem, so it will be interesting to see how deployment plans develop in the next year for what is the largest of the BDUK projects.

While there are perhaps lots of questions as to why the commercial market left just BT in the running for Wales, for residents and businesses at least they know roughly what to expect now, and can plan ahead accordingly. The key thing we want to happen is for Openreach to increase the level of publicly available data on where and when its cabinet deployments are happening, both the good (it is live) and bad (it has been delayed).


Posted by Yorkie71 over 5 years ago
Having read this press release a few times now over the past few months as it seems to be a slightly rehashed version of the previous one the important thing here is, as Andrew states, what will be deployed where and when will the public be informed. It's an extremely rural area so I'll be very interested in how the service will be delivered to the areas.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Maybe the idea of smaller VDSL bricks will resurface, as in can fit inside pavement chambers.

Technically the challenges are easy, it is delivering them to budget and on time that is harder.
Posted by jumpmum over 5 years ago
Most of the rural places don't have pavement chambers! Some of the smaller exchanges don't even have cabinets so they will have to put a new one in outside the exchange.
Posted by fibrebunny over 5 years ago
Wasn't Cardiff one of the cities announced for extra funding? so that will be the fttp element then, going on the inclusion of commercial funding as match funding.
Posted by Koppo over 5 years ago
Yeah, because Cardiff clearly needs more next gen access.


In the meantime, areas like Conwy County, which was mysteriously excluded from BDUK, will no doubt be left out of this rollout, as the assembly and BT waste millions on consultants and frippery and some welsh exchanges will still be left without even 21cn.
Posted by rtho782 over 5 years ago
I'd be interested to know what they are doing with EO lines. Is this where the FTTP comes in?
Posted by spinneybel over 5 years ago
Forget Rural. BT can't even manage to deploy fibre to everyone on housing estates. It's FTTN. (Fibre to the Neighbourhood)
I wish Wales luck with that contract.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Conwy County? Wont have its own BDUK entry, as its under the umbrella of Wales.
Posted by jumpmum over 5 years ago
Koppo. No consultants needed to do this, just engineers. All Exchanges appear to be covered by this. When this is done you won't need 21cn in every exchange.
Posted by Koppo over 5 years ago

Other districts in Wales qualified for BDUK just fine. It wasn't just the case of it being under the umbrella of Wales. It was specifically left out of any proposals afaik.
Posted by Koppo over 5 years ago
Jumpmum. All exchanges in areas that weren't left out of BDUK. This is a BDUK/Welsh government/BT project. The cynic in me is shouting that since Conwy was excluded from BDUK, this will be the case with this project also
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
Conwy shown in
Posted by Seaview85 over 5 years ago

Conwy was left out of the Commercially funded BT Infinity/FTTC roll out... As it wasnt deemed economically viable to do it in the commercial phase. Weather thats right or wring is a different matter. That was not part of BDUK.

What has just been announced is the BDUK Project which as it says will make 96% of the country FTTC ready, which is good news...

All we can hope is that openreach are transparent with roll out plans so we know when the Conwy county area of which like you I reside in will be updated..!
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
VDSL can be run from exchanges with the right masking / profiles and NICC approval regime. Hopefully we'll see an article on this (one way or the other) sometime Andrew ??
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
While VDSL2 can run, the decision from ANFP was that this was not to be. No idea a review is underway, generally a real world trial takes place to gather data, and this would be visible via Openreach
Posted by Koppo over 5 years ago
Thanks for the heads-up Seaview. I was unaware of the reasons for Conwy's exclusion, although I can't help but wonder why. I mean, wasn't the point of BDUK to enable areas not deemed to be commercially viable?

Here's hoping we get some firm dates for exchanges. Mine has 8k lines and still doesn't even have 21cn/WBC.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 5 years ago
21cn won't help an 8k line.
Posted by Seaview85 over 5 years ago

Yes it is the point of BDUK to enable areas not deemed commercially viable, which is what they have announced they are doing. as I said before, Conwy was left off the first bt infinity roll out which was not part of bduk. Bduk will now do everywhere else that wasn't viable at first.

What part of Conwy county are you in, as an exchange with 8000lines should have some LLU presence which will help for the time being.....?!
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
Must be Llandudno, has Sky and TalkTalk and 21CN or Rhos On Sea, 21CN 31/10/2012.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
Section D of the ANFP is for exchanges with no cabinets, it's "work to be done" but is an open door for VDSL2 from the exchange on smaller rural exchanges at least.
Posted by Koppo over 5 years ago
I'm on an Opal re-sold service through Vivaciti on Rhos exchange. Uses TalkTalk kit, without the gawdawful TT customer service and restrictions. I get 18meg where I am and 100gb a month for £21. Not too shabby, but I'll jump @ FTTC/FTTH if I'm offfered it.
Posted by Koppo over 5 years ago
Somerset, they keep changing that date constantly. Rhos has been on the build list for 21cn on and off for the last 3-4 years, according to Samknows. It never happens. Although this is the 1st time it's actually changed to an earlier date. Last month it was showing 31/01/13.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@herdwick on smaller exchanges with smaller cable bundles and less cross talk potential there is a good case.
Posted by Dave2150 over 5 years ago
Koppo, all that whining and your already getting 18mbit?

There are many people getting less than 1mbit who would love to have what you have access to.

Man up and stop the whining!
Posted by Koppo over 5 years ago
Thanks for your stellar input there Dave. I'll take your suggestion under advisement and I'll try not to be so rabid about the lack of ANY fibre in North Wales, as clearly we are all A-OK here because some of us can get LLU ADSL2.

In the meantime, I suggest you stop whining about living somewhere in the sticks and get yourself some satellite.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
North Wales has seen a fair bit spent already, £30m on Fibrespeed and Angelsey has fixed wireless improving things.

Plus the RIBS scheme should have eliminated not-spots if people applied for it. £1000 up for grabs to tackle a not-spot.
Posted by NilSatisOptimum over 5 years ago
I also believe fibre speed is used by such companies as Exwavia for their wireless delivery in Mid Wales (Powys), who incidentally have grand plans for North Powys.
Posted by Koppo over 5 years ago
It might have seen money spent, but there is no domestic product and never will be. Geo made a big song and dance about Fibrespeed and all sorts of promises to residents in our area when they dug a massive trench through our town - 10 yards away from my house - but that was 4 years ago and the only real people getting access to that fibre are some business parks. It was a massive waste of money and is severely under-utilised. We already had a load of unlit fibre running along a stretch of the A55.
Posted by mabibby over 5 years ago
I must admit I agree with Koppo. The FibreSpeed project was a disaster. Unpaid contractors and ridiculous connection/running costs aimed at business parks which don't really have the industries that require such connectivity.

I'm over in Kinmel Bay, just outside Rhyl. Currently we're looking at a 2014 for FTTC. The guys further west like Koppo have no chance.

I'm on a 5km line at the moment so struggle to get 2mb on ADSL2 via LLU with Sky.
Posted by NilSatisOptimum over 5 years ago
Cefn Coch (Powys) a very rural community who were lucky to get 1mbps (Openreach delivery), now can pay for anything from 4mbps to 60mbps up/down, with delivery I mentioned earlier.
Posted by Koppo over 5 years ago
Glad someone is getting some residential use out of it, but very much a minority case and I bet it isn't cheap. I've seen their business prices...

It's such a wasted opportunity, as that fibre covers pretty much all the North Wales coastline and not one exchange straddling their footprint is on the build list for FTTC, with the exception of Mold, but that's inland anyway. Rhyl doesn't count, as it's not covered by Fibrespeed afaik.

Posted by mikeluff over 5 years ago
All I want to see is the BT deployment plan to say what they are going to deploy in each area, until then I shall sit quietly and hope that I get FTTC knowing it's only about a 600m cable run to my house. Here's hoping they release it.. or someone manages to bag a copy.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.