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Welsh dragon awakens from its broadband slumber
Monday 21 January 2013 12:17:02 by Andrew Ferguson

The project to improve broadband speeds across Wales is progressing with the announcement that a roll-out plan is being firmed up and the first 14 areas to benefit being announced.

Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Porth Talbot, Newport, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea and the Vale of Glamorgan

First 14 areas of Wales to be targeted by broadband project

The project in Wales is based around some £220m from BT, £90m from the EU and the rest being a mixture of Welsh money and BDUK funding, the total fund being £425m. Some of the BT money is what they are already spending on their commercial deployment of FTTC/P services. If the Next Generation Broadband Wales site which was last updated in September 2011 is to be believed the first connections are due to go live in Spring 2013, with the eventual aim of 96% premises connected to a FTTC or FTTP based service. The majority will be FTTC based, but there will be a scattering of pure FTTP areas in addition to the Fibre on Demand option.

"This is an extremely important programme for rural mid Wales and I hope it will transform the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in Powys."

Montgomery Assembly Member Russell George

We hope the optimism is borne out with the project delivery and that the step change in speed promised will meet peoples needs. Wales has spent a fair chunk of money already on its Broadband Support Scheme that should in theory have seen not-spots largely eliminated and has resulted in a mixture of satellite, fixed wireless and cabinet based solutions being deployed.

There will be a lot of criticism that the project goals are short sighted, but this has to be balanced with a desire to provide a ubiquitous level of access in a fairly short time frame and love or hate the BT Group and its Openreach arm, by providing a base line service across the country as people and businesses move around there is some consistency.

The problem with almost all state funded projects is that many of the politicians involved are really just worried about winning their next term in office, and while there are some who have embraced the digital world, for many politicians at all levels broadband projects are just another bit of budget to manage. The crumbling of the bricks and mortar high street is the big warning that if the small market towns do not embrace the digital world there will be another wave of population movement towards the cities with their better digital infrastructure and easier access to the remaining physical resources we utilise in our working and personal life.

Update 5pm 21st January: It seems the dragon has really woke up, as there is now a new website for people living and working in Wales to keep an eye on for updates www.superfast-cymru.com. The site is has no actual information on it, but it is worth adding to your bookmarks for occassional checks, to see what is going on.

Comments

Posted by Enrico21 about 1 year ago
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! The NGB Wales website at: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/businessandeconomy/broadbandandict/broadband/ngbw/?lang=en has just been updated and they are now referring to ‘Superfast Cymru’ that has its own website at: http://www.superfast-cymru.com/ In the meantime Ceredigion is still conducting broadband speed surveys – a case of too little, too late. See also: http://forums.thinkbroadband.com/general/4201623-wales-ngb-first-roll-out.html
Posted by huwwatkins about 1 year ago
No mention of Aberystwyth - disappointing!
Posted by welshwarrior about 1 year ago
Surprise, surprise nothing West of Swansea again even though a Welsh Government funded Enterprise Park is due to be setup in the Pembroke Dock/Milford Haven area. Most of those sites announced already have access to either VM or BT Fibre!!
Posted by Bob_s2 about 1 year ago
That is probably not the complete list. The Rollout plan refered to seems to be no available. The link referred to is just a Header page with nothing on it

http://www.superfast-cymru.com
Posted by Enrico21 about 1 year ago
That's because the website page has only just been created. It says..'Check back very soon for information about this exciting initiative'. It won't be exciting for some!
Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
Meanwhile no sign of anything beyond ADSL2+ in Llandudno and Colwyn bay (and that only came a year or two ago). I don't live there and my Dad who does couldn't care less but I still don't understand why those two major towns are always being left behind.
Posted by mervl about 1 year ago
Andrue: logistics and demand, I suggest. I seem to recall the the latest Ofcom stats showed a general take up of FTTC where available - even in areas where it does not compete with Virgin - of around 11%. With anything else surely we'd be worried about as low a take up, yet all the broadband affectionados - including this site's commentators - don't seem concerned about this at all. Why not? Do they deliberately ignore anything that doesn't fit their prejudices? It looks like it to me.
Posted by dazzle39 about 1 year ago
It will be interesting to see if, within the 14 areas named above, there are any new exchanges listed as the Openreach commercial roll out is already happening (or at least announced) in all of these areas.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@mervl In terms of take-up, Openreach is at the million FTTC/P customer mark which is on par for original ADSL roll-out.

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/images/factsheet/q4-2012/broadband-timeline-uk-q4-2012-factsheet-large.jpg

Also with dial-up there was less latency due to minimum contract terms and arguably the big reason that was 'an always on connection' is not there with superfast.
Posted by Bob_s2 about 1 year ago
Perhaps a better way to go about it is for the Local areas to have to match the BDUK funding ie BDUK funds 50% & local community funds 50%. At least that ensures there is a real demand
Posted by mabibby about 1 year ago
Oh god... signs of willing appear and they are shot down in one fellow swoop with "should have been here sooner"! Can BT/the Government win?

Fibre is making it's way down the North Wales coast, Rhyl is being enabled Q2 this year and it's due in Llandudno/Colwyn Bay in the coming phases.
Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
> Due in Llandudno

Lol @ Rhyl getting it before Llandudno/C'Bay. I suppose it has appeal as escapism and let's face it anyone living in Rhyl needs some way to escape - but can anyone in Rhyl afford it?
Posted by mabibby about 1 year ago
@AndrueC

You seem to forget the town with the highest density level of unemployment and single Mum's has to keep connected to Facebook & YouTube somehow. Sky Fibre is £20 a month extra... not too much of a financial hindrance the more experienced benefit scrounger! :)
Posted by warweezil about 1 year ago
@Welsh Warrior - Well as long as a few businesses have access the ordinary cash cow - sorry citizen - can carry on paying over the odds for slow speeds on outdated equipment. You forget West wales was moved some years ago to Neath - anywhere west of Loughor (formerly known as West Wales) ceased to exist int he eyes of Governments - except when they want to import/generate fuel.
Posted by warweezil about 1 year ago
I;m sure that Pembrokeshire/Carms/Ceredigion come to be covered - we will find we are considered to be financially unviable aka "sorry we already blew the money in North wales and along the M4 Corridor" .

Left behind on 8 megs again by BT.. thank god for o-bit ! Now if only I could get openjoke to actually fix my line - I may have a half waty decent connection.

BT and politicans are the biggest bar to decent broadband in the UK!
Posted by Koppo about 1 year ago
Colwyn Bay, Llandudno etc are left in the lurch solely because of apathy from Conwy County Council.

They have zero interest in getting ANY of the area fibred, they couldn't care less about next gen and they're too busy doing other trivial stuff and frivolously blowing our council tax to care about anything not on their self-serving agendas. Conwy Council were absolute crap when I ran the campaign that got Rhos/Colwyn Central and Old Colwyn enabled, then tried to take the credit once we reached trigger by crowing about it in the local rag.

Posted by Colin_London about 1 year ago
They supposedly carried out research into 'Intervention Areas' prior to this - see http://wales.gov.uk/docs/det/policy/120124ngbwareamaps.pdf

But looking at their OWN MAPS, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Flintshire, Neath, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea and the Vale of Glamorgan have all already got access to a 'NGA Operator' namely Virgin Media.

This stinks of a Labour stitch up. Pembrokeshire can go hang because they voted Tory!
Posted by alwall about 1 year ago
mabibby That's a cheap shot at people living in an economically deprived area. Investment in infrastructure is one way of improving the lives of people whose economic activity once underpinned the success of the UK (Coal and steel)
Posted by warweezil about 1 year ago
@ Colin.. Nick Stranger as he is known locally can go stew next time he comes round looking for votes Pembs (little England) as a constituency has been screwed up since they divided the county between 2 neigbouring Welsh speaking areas

@ Alwell. Pembs still provides for the UK.. 2 Gas terminals 2 Oil refineries and 1 power station startred up and another soon to be built. thats without the fishing and ferry ports and the Army training areas. As ever people commenting knowing little about what we contribute to the country
Posted by warweezil about 1 year ago
Had a trawl through Wikipedia for the areas listed.. strange how they are overwhelmingly Labour both for MPs and AMs - Including Ms Harts own constituency. There are a smattering of Labours buddies from the nationalist party, but other political flavours only appear where they are a minority in a split area - 2 labour to one tory seems to be the ratio in those couple of areas. It smacks of patronage - pretty much what I expected.
Posted by warweezil about 1 year ago
As ever the the real rural communities that are supposed to be benefiting from this are betrayed while the money goes to urban areas that are no more deserving that the smaller more isolated areas they are leeching from, and those rural areas will most likely eventually be offered must worse alternatives involving lower speeds higher costs or lower allowances (probably a mix of those) - so business as usual.
Posted by welshwarrior about 1 year ago
It's a joke mate - at least the Dock is due to be 21CN'd later this year. But I think we can kiss goodbye to Fibre here anytime soon. Tenby exchange has Fibre already but BT guys told me yesterday that they know of no plans to install new street cabs.
Posted by warweezil about 1 year ago
Bt are a joke. I have had line drops for 10+ years, last week Openjoke told My LLU provider that the CP equipment on my line (that has been in this area for a year tops) was causing the drops - as someone on the forum here said BT speak for "we dont know.. and don't care".

Between them and the muppets on the bay we are totally screwed
Posted by huwwatkins about 1 year ago
welshwarrior - the fibre could be being used for something else.
Posted by welshwarrior about 1 year ago
@ huwwatkins

It is indeed Huw. It's there for the Secondary School that I work at. It comes into our POP room and then is fed our to each of the 3 Junior Schools in the town.

Apparently, I can get my own Fibre line from the exchange to my house but it would be around £5000 installation!

I think I can live with my 15meg for now!
Posted by welshwarrior about 1 year ago
oooh - and the Library and Leisure Centre too.
Posted by warweezil about 1 year ago
I just put a call in to Angela Burns office (AM) she has raised the slow broadband issue a few times, and is going to keep the situation under review, I guess the more that make a noise about ti the better ourt chances of getting something done. I did point out that The minister quoted in the PR was assembly member for one of the urban (City) areas that figures in the announcement.
Posted by warweezil about 1 year ago
So eradicating "not spots" ans "slow spots" is helped by putting more money into areas that already have fatser services than upto 8 meg?

Its a fix.
Posted by warweezil about 1 year ago
15 meg? My line is struggling to support 6.5 and that having been siting at 8 - 9 last year. ANOTHER engineer visit is about to be booked.. maybe we need a proper SFI rather than just another broadband bod that loses interest once he finds a sync on the line.

The strange tging is that My attenuation sasy my line is 3km.. the Be checker says the BT database shows my line as being 2665 metres - which ties in with what Vivaciti were saying to me about there being a discrepancy about my line.
Posted by Enrico21 about 1 year ago
Some info now on http://www.superfast-wales.com/home
Have a look at the Deployment Areas and Order of Delivery http://www.superfast-wales.com/where-and-when
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
Yay, at last! But will I still be in the "hard to reach" 4% or will I finally be able to receive speeds greater than 700kbps and avoid dropouts? The site says that the 4% won't be easily identifiable places, which doesn't exactly describe my village of 100+ houses, so I must be in the 96%! Caernarfon is listed as one of the first areas. But do they mean the town itself or all the exchanges "named" after the town? I'm actually 12 miles out from Caernarfon and 5 miles from my exchange. But exciting isn't it, the suspense is killing me!
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
The interesting thing is about that 4% again - "Those premises that are not covered will not be in discrete, convenient and easily identifiable locations but will be scattered across all parts of Wales where local geography presents engineering challenges.". Like I said, my village can't be described as being inconvenient or having unique local geographical/engineering challenges - it's on a decent main road for heaven's sake, it's just that the exchange was built 5 miles away. In other words we were never "hard to reach".
Posted by Koppo about 1 year ago
Predictably, Conwy County and most of the North Wales coastline left till last.

Knowing our luck, by the time they get round to it we'll have referendum'd ourselves out of the EU and there'll be no more Brussells money to finance it.
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
I wonder, if I am lucky enough to receive a fibre connection this year, whether I'll then turn into one of those people who'll tell everyone still suffering from poor speeds that it's their fault for choisng to move there 30 years ago (or for not moving out if they've always lived there) and they should sell their house, find another job and move if they want a good broadband service, or pay for a bespoke connection.
Posted by DJBlu2003 about 1 year ago
Finally we have a date of some sort.

I can put up with the speed I receive for another year or so.

Maybe Sky will be selling 330mb unlimited by the time I can get my hands on it! :D

I can but dream.
Posted by NilSatisOptimum about 1 year ago
http://superfarce-cymru.com/superfarce/where-and-when.html
Posted by Dewi32 about 1 year ago
Cabinets started getting installed in various parts of Pwllheli today \o/
Posted by martin9325 about 1 year ago
I live in rural Pembrokeshire and my village has just done all the evaluations and thanks to the Welsh Assembly 53 houses will shortly be connected via WiFi with an initial 10mbps Down and 4mbps Up speed. As the speed to the various transmission pylons will be 100mbps we are hopeful that the speed will be upgraded in due course, but in comparison to the average around the village of 0.7 mbps the 10mbps will be a fantastic boost. The money is there in Wales, but most people don't make the effort to apply for the grants, they just whinge about slowness.
Posted by rkimber about 1 year ago
Yet again West Wales loses out.

Perhaps there aren't enough potential Labour voters in my area.
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