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Welsh broadband project on the way to enabling another 300 cabinets
Tuesday 25 March 2014 15:24:29 by Andrew Ferguson

The Superfast Wales project has the hardest job of any part of the UK, with Wales consistently appearing at the bottom of regional speed maps and until this project started fast broadband speeds where really the domain of Cardiff and Swansea. The Welsh Government has issued an update highlighting areas that are expected to go live in the next week or two.

Moelfre, Valley and Llangoed on Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Ogmore Valley, and Ynysowen

These areas are part of a much larger phase of the project that covers some 300 cabinets (around 30,000 lines), and builds on the roughly 100,000 (believe this is using around 350 cabinets) premises connected to cabinets previously enabled via the project. There are more phases to plan and build particularly as the project has a target 'of enabling 96 per cent of premises in the country to access fast fibre broadband by the end of Spring 2016'.

There are some caveats to highlight before people in these areas get too excited, invariably not all cabinets are enabled when an exchange area starts to offer a FTTC service, so it is possible that half an area might get the faster service and the other not. It is possible that a cabinet missed out in an earlier phase may be enabled in a later one, and it is this uncertainty that is upsetting people.

"Our plans for superfast fibre are the most ambitious in the UK providing faster broadband to a great proportion of premises more quickly. In January I announced that 100,000 premises had already been connected and by the time the project is finished in 2016 96 per cent of Wales will have access to fast fibre broadband as a result of commercial roll-outs and Superfast Cymru. That won’t just put Wales ahead of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland but the USA and Japan."

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates

The observant may have noticed a slight change in the wording used by the Welsh Government, they appear to talk about 96% coverage of fast fibre broadband, which may reflect a change in aim or outcome for the project now they have costed out several phases and possibly scaled back the odd bit of FTTP to boost speeds in difficult areas. Alternatively it may mean nothing, and someone just dropped the super from superfast when drafting the release.

We are tending towards taking the 96% figure as meaning 96% with the option to order a fibre based service, be that FTTC/FTTP or cable broadband, the number of mentions of phrases like 'provide 96% of Wales with a world class fibre broadband network' point to a similar use of term as is used in Scotland. 96% at superfast speeds is possible, but pretty much only if every exchange only line is dealt with and a reasonable proportion of FTTP is deployed to resolve clusters a long way from their current street cabinet.


Posted by warweezil over 3 years ago
Ah yes the Welsh Government and its flexible terminology. The Haven waterway enterprise zone is allegedly a priority area, and yet in a county with ZERO domestic fibre availablilty, the dates have slipped again, while money is being thrown at infill in many areas where BT have already some services available, of course the relevant "minister" responsible for this sector has seen her area (A short bus ride from Swansea city centre) enabled.

Posted by warweezil over 3 years ago
As ever with the Cardiff based circus there is a whole layer of political patronage and other sleight of hand involved in this while rural areas of south west Wales (The real south west that lies to the west of Swansea) see the dates slip further and further back, although this amended detail has not made it to the official website of superfarce Wales. It was interesting to compare the areas in the first tranche with the "political colour" of its Representatives.

The whole thing stinks.
Posted by astateoftrance over 3 years ago
Where have you got info that there will be delays? Asking because I am also in West Wales and my area has a date of March 2015..
Posted by jumpmum over 3 years ago
There are a number on the Welsh superfast site that have not (yet) made their March 2014 publisiced date. Haverfordwest should be the first and is likely to be a headend site as well, it was badged for March but is not mentioned above so is likely to be late!
Other areas of Wales Gwynedd and Anglesey have moved forward very fast.
Posted by natm over 3 years ago
Lots of cabinets being installed around Haverfordwest, counted 8 so far. Mine (PCP9) has had its tie lines, power and fibre installed, just waiting for it to be switched on and commissioned. Much happened around town in the past 3 weeks.
Posted by csimon over 3 years ago
"...and it is this uncertainty that is upsetting people."

That's exactly right. Superfast Cymru continue to refuse to give any info out about cabinets and will only give expected "start" dates for whole exchanges. Their Twitter is full of people asking when they will be enabled and they get the stock reply "We don't give out any cab information". Still waiting for up to a year for mine to be done after exchange enabled (in Gwynedd - yes, startup waas fast but rollout is slow). Just because your exchange has an enable date it doesn't mean anything at all for you.
Posted by fiddler over 3 years ago
I did enter into e-mail dialogue with SuperFast about their roll out and the rationale they gave beared no resemblance to the reality of what was going on on the ground.

I suspect they make it up as they go along.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@fiddler well the plans will change, particularly if its a delay with enabling the handover kit in an exchange, or more duct blockages than expected and its under a busy junction.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
Still nothing about Llandudno/Colwyn bay area.

So that's around 50,000 people still left in the dark. All the map says 'is more planning and surveying'.

No wonder my Dad and his friends who live in the area all detest the rulers in Cardiff. From the outside it looks like deliberate exclusion. Something to do with the relatively high English population in that area?
Posted by csimon over 3 years ago
At a push, Superfast Cymru can be persuaded to give the planned date for when rollout at an exchange is due to *finish*, which is arguably more useful than a start date. At least you then have a target to wait for and if you haven't got fibre by then, you know to look elsewhere e.g. satellite and possibly put an application in for a grant. Remember the silly situation with the grant - you can't apply while your *exchange* has an enable date.
Posted by csimon over 3 years ago
It's also looking like Superfast Cymru might be misnamed, as the target is now not Superfast.
Posted by csimon over 3 years ago
I can see their point in not publicising planned dates as there can be uncontrollable delays, but there are delays with exchange enable dates & they publicise those. They key thing is information. Surely, no-one can have a problem with delays etc if the info is kept up-to-date & relevant. Someone, somewhere must have a spreadsheet of exchanges and cabs with planned dates & a progress status. Why can't this just be uploaded overnight automatically to their plush (and, at the moment, static and uninformative) web site. It would prevent lots of queries and lots of frustration.
Posted by fiddler over 3 years ago
@andrew - none of those apply. I was questioning why an exchange in an area which ticked the boxes had no planned date but an exchange of less than half the size serving properties too far to benefit from fibre had a date.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Which two exchanges then
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Hmmm. Why does it seem that the devolved governments are the ones that play fast & loose the most with the terminology?

Perhaps they are just too far removed from the communities they serve, while most of the English counties seem to be very conscious of the point where the hype runs out. Even the UK gov politicians have been pounded enough to know to be clear of the difference
Posted by csimon over 3 years ago
Latest query and its reply on Superfast Cymru's Twitter just an hour ago:

"All registered. Any possibility you could say what cabs? Or in particular if cab 11 will be? Thanks.

Sorry but we don't give cab specific info."

It's like trying to get blood out of a stone, they won't even say if your cab is planned at all never mind giving a forecasted date. I don't believe it's just a case of dates being liable to change, that's a rubbish excuse!
Posted by fiddler over 3 years ago


If you google map them you'll see what I mean.
Posted by astateoftrance over 3 years ago
I contacted Superfast Cymru via email before to ask if my cabinet was going to be enabled and they replied and confirmed it would be. So it is possible to get a answer from them.
Posted by csimon over 3 years ago
After about a year & numerous enquiries via Twitter and direct email,trying to find the correct words & rephrasing the question so that it doesn't trigger the dreaded "sorry, we don't give cab-specific info",I did in the end manage to get a vague confirmation that my cab is due to be enabled by late summer,by interpreting the response that my village was "in scope" as meaning that it was planned & the separate response that rollout at my exchange is due to be completed by late summer.

You must have got lucky on your first attempt.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 3 years ago
The current marketing is the problem. The current system of quoting a speed that only 10% may get is misleading. It also creates a misleading impression of UK broadband speeds
Posted by BREWERDAVE over 3 years ago
In our "village" just South of Cardiff,several new cabs appeared 6 weeks ago along with footpath digs to,presumably, connect the power. Since then, nothing.
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