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Broadband grants planned for slow Welsh premises
Tuesday 17 September 2013 14:07:34 by Andrew Ferguson

It appears that the previous £2m of funding to address not and slow spots in Wales may not have been enough, as a new broadband grant scheme has been setup by the Welsh Government to address those parts of Wales that are either outside the 96% planned intervention area for its BT project or plans have simply not been finalised in the area.

The grants are to be available for up to £1,000 and will run until 31st March 2016, and will only be available to those who currently get fixed line broadband speeds of under 2 Mbps. The Access Broadband Scheme is very sketchy on details currently, with the site where people can apply for funding returning a 404 error page, which is hardly the most confidence inspiring start, but then there are two weeks left until 1st October for the scheme to start taking applications. For now beyond the news announcement there is a few paragraphs about Access Broadband Cymru on the main broadband site.

We believe the scheme may have some £4m of funding behind it, which sounds a lot but will not stretch very far if lots of applications take the full £1,000 of funding. It may be that this scheme is intended to be the main way that the Universal Service Commitment will be met in the 4% outside the scope of the much larger project, which as a way of targeting funding at the those who want/need it is perhaps worthy, but ignores a key aim behind the USC which is to ensure all properties can get some form of vaguely usable broadband.


Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
Nearly 5 years ago David Cameron said he wanted every home in the UK to have ultra-fast broadband within a decade. (not sure what ultra-fast meant then?)
He also said:"We need to move much faster towards a Britain where fibre right into people's homes is the norm for everyone and a Conservative Government will do everything it can to make it happen within a decade"
It is disappointing to now learn that a key aim behind the USC is now: "to ensure all properties can get some form of vaguely usable broadband."
Vaguely usable?
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
Isn't this the same as the other scheme running? Or a follow on?

I used to see lots of banners for this - even on this site?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@zhango 5 years ago when in opposition is a long time ago. As for the USC, it has been at that level since original definition by Labour and continued with current Government, just date for it to be effective moved.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
It is a new scheme, but largely the same.

As for banners, we've never run a banner graphic for the old scheme, but they may have bought ad space to promote, which is probably what you are referring to.
Posted by jumpmum over 4 years ago
Andrew, They were ads for a supplier that took £999 to provide satellite BB. Was and will be a lovely money making scheme for them with the cash up front.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
@Andrew - yes sorry you're right. It was IP linked I believe because I only saw it at home when in Wales. Mind you this was a while go and before I used an add blocker.

I hope more people take it up - it's a good scheme. Although would it be better if they just used it to get more landline based services to people I think.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
@jumpmum - that's the one.. With the Welsh Flag and something about the Welsh Assembly.
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
How will I know if I'm not in the "area covered by the Superfast programme" in order to apply for this grant? The site linked above states that you must use the checker to find if the exchange is going to be enabled, but this doesn't go down to cabinet level. Is the grant only for entire *exchanges* not in the plans?? After my forum post on the subject I emailed Openreach but they wouldn't give info on exchanges not in the commercial rollout & told me to contact Superfast Wales, and still waiting for a response from them.
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
PS my forum post was
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Hopefully once they fix the 404 bug on the site for the grants more info will appear. Looks to be a wordpress site where the redirect module is not working correctly.

Openreach is right, as SuperfastWales might decide to spend the money on native fibre for you as part of the project to reach the 3 miles from your cabinet.
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
Keeping my fingers crossed, lol! Just need information, there must be plans somewhere, someone must have worked out what they're going to do with cabinets on exchanges that are actually meant to be going live this month, but no-one willing to give any information out, or is it a case that they still haven't got any plans. I don't mind if they say they can't guarantee a go-live date, as long as they can just say yes it's in the plans or no it isn't!
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
@csimon e-mail them on

They will tell you for sure - they have told me no at the moment so they are honest about it.
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
I've just received a reply from them (my query was last week), and they've said that Cabinet 4 is going to be fibre-enabled (which I was fairly certain about anyway, it's in the centre of Llanberis!) but that there's been a delay in deployment. However, they didn't answer the bits about whether this will remain the cabinet that serves my village (in which case we won't be getting superfast broadband) or if there are any plans at all to get superfast into the village (about 100 properties).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
To be frank I doubt they know what they will do in your case with the 3 mile distance to the cabinet.

There are options but these can be costly so will depend greatly on how spending for the easier stuff goes and if money left over you might get included.
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
I've had a reply saying "We are currently not in a position to give any further information until any further updates are provided to us", so it appears nothing has been decided as yet.
Posted by abbyh over 4 years ago
You already know that the Llanberis exchange is going to be upgraded under Superfast-Cymru, however if you’re 3 miles away from your nearest cabinet you’re unlikely to see any benefit in Broadband speeds due to the signal drop off on your copper line.

I see it you’re only options to access grant assistance for better Broadband would be the £1000 Broadband Support Scheme or Access Broadband Cymru. Or alternatively contact the team at Digital Gwynedd (Gwynedd CC) to see if they can lever RDP money as Monmouthshire have done under the ‘Connecting Monmouthshire’ scheme.

Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
Yeah, this is the issue, they're not telling us (or haven't decided yet) what to do. I already know that 3 miles away isn't going to provide superfast speeds. andrew hinted that we might not be allowed to order FTTC at that distance. Openreach engineers seen in the village earlier this year hinted that there might be something coming to the village. AccessBB seemingly doesn't support anyone on an exchange that is enabled.I know what the options are,it's just that no-one is telling us what's going on so that I can take the appropriate action.
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
My speed has dropped from 800kbps to 500kbps since last autumn, Purportedly due to floods in Llanberis, where our cabinet is. Fault reported but they've "fixed" everything but speed still lower than before. Phone line dead on average 2 months a year due to these long and poor lines. Still waiting and waiting and waiting for news of any imprpovement and investment at all in phone lines and BB but information is scarce and very little signs of anyone doing anything.
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
Basically, even with the exchange going live for FTTC this month, I still don't have any indication of whether we're going to get FTTP, FTTC in the village, FTTC from 3 miles away, or nothing at all. Getting increasingly impatient and fidgety!
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