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.