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Progress report for Welsh Superfast Broadband project
Tuesday 10 June 2014 16:27:11 by Andrew Ferguson

The Superfast Cymru programme is continuing with its goal of giving 96% of premises in Wales the option of a fast fibre broadband service and has let us know that since work started in January 2013 some 135,000 premises have the option to order a fibre based broadband service.

The astute will have noticed in the release on the Welsh Assembly website that superfast is used carefully and it needs to be emphasised that the Welsh target is not 96% with a superfast service, but 96% with a line that is capable of a fibre based service. This means even if the FTTC can only manage 5 Mbps downloads it counts in the 96% for now.

"Superfast Cymru, is taking fibre broadband to parts of Wales, like Rhydyfelin in Aberystwyth, not covered by commercial plans. It will transform the broadband landscape across our country, ensuring we are at the forefront of the digital economy in Europe.

European investment has been absolutely crucial in enabling us to deliver this major project, and it means that by the end of spring 2016, 96% of premises in Wales will have access fast fibre broadband."

Finance Minister Jane Hutt

Our analysis of Wales suggests some 6.4% of lines are Exchange Only based, and when taking into account that cable broadband is available to 21% of premises if all the green street cabinets were enabled for FTTC some 80% would get 30 Mbps or faster, a further 4% getting between 24 Mbps and 30 Mbps. Some 5% would be stuck on speeds of 2 Mbps or slower. Fortunately we have already seen indications that some Exchange Only lines are being upgraded and FTTP deployed in some areas, but this will be offset by the likelihood that some small cabinets (e.g. ones serving less than 20 premises) may not receive a fibre twin.

thinkbroadband analysis of potential superfast coverage in Wales if just FTTC deployed on top of existing cable coverage
Area % at 30 Mbps or faster % at 2 Mbps or slower
Abertawe - Swansea 91.7% 1.8%
Blaenau Gwent - Blaenau Gwent 89.6% 2.3%
Bro Morgannwg - the Vale of Glamorgan 85.3% 3.7%
Caerdydd - Cardiff 93.6% 1.5%
Caerffili - Caerphilly 85.2% 4.4%
Casnewydd - Newport 88.1% 3.1%
Castell-nedd Port Talbot - Neath Port Talbot 90.1% 1.7%
Conwy - Conwy 68.2% 4.2%
Gwynedd - Gwynedd 59.8% 9%
Merthyr Tudful - Merthyr Tydfil 87.9% 2.1%
Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr - Bridgend 79.7% 6.6%
Powys - Powys 43.8% 15%
Rhondda Cynon Taf - Rhondda Cynon Taf 88.2% 3.5%
Sir Benfro - Pembrokeshire 65.6% 8.5%
Sir Ceredigion - Ceredigion 46% 15.2%
Sir Ddinbych - Denbighshire 76% 4.1%
Sir Fynwy - Monmouthshire 68.6% 7.2%
Sir Gaerfyrddin - Carmarthenshire 63.8% 8.3%
Sir y Fflint - Flintshire 79.6% 5.3%
Sir Ynys Mon - Isle of Anglesey 58.3% 8.2%
Tor-faen - Torfaen 90.1% 2.2%
Wrecsam - Wrexham 79.6% 3.1%

TO AVOID CONFUSION: The table above is from calculations by thinkbroadband on what is possible in Wales, and is NOT a reflection of current levels of coverage. We are attempting to calculate something approaching what may be the result of the Superfast Cymru project in terms of people actually getting a superfast connection.

Our calculations take into account line length from the cabinet, hence why some areas get a much lower superfast coverage figure due to the dispersed nature of premises, the distance versus speed equation is fairly pessimistic as it assumes a high level of cross-talk, but provides a fair representation we believe for areas where demand is high.

Once we have more information on the FTTP roll-out areas and are sure it will be deployed and also which EO lines will be upgraded then we will adjust our figures, but for now these represent a good indication of what is possible across the various Welsh council areas. Unless of course the Superfast Cymru project wants to publish its own contracted figures for these areas.


Posted by realBSG over 2 years ago
We already know that Superfarce will not be upgrading all cabinets, a further 2.5k or so postcodes are part of the infill project.

We also know that your calcs assume that the copper is in good condition, which makes the likelihood of these (already poor) outcomes suspect (crosstalk is encompassed, but not degraded CU and Al)

Not all cabinets are being upgraded.

Few cabinets are being upgraded with 100% capacity for all that they serve.

There are already people in 'enabled' areas unable to get superfast speeds...

But hey - nice calculations :-)
Posted by whitcop over 2 years ago
I love that the rollout is happening. I've gone from 4.8Mb/0.85Mb to 61Mb/18Mb. Most people in my area still don't know its available.
Posted by ian007jen over 2 years ago
How does this tie in with the documents relating to the infill project....all blue areas at least one property in that postcode area able to receive FTTC/P?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
I know of no cabinet every installed either commercially or via a BDUK that has 100% capacity for all lines on it on day one.

That would represent very bad value for money for the council/gov and the contracts will cover that Openreach is responsible for upgrading cards etc as demand increases.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
In 2013, 24,000 cabinets were analysed for power usage. Of those, only 120 cabs were equipped with a full complement of line cards. The vast, vast, majority, 97%, were half full of cards, or less.

Demand would not appear to have led to anything approaching a capacity issue yet. Tell me again why you're making such a fuss about the capacity?
Posted by welshwarrior over 2 years ago
A good friend of mine works for Openreach and tells me that Pembrokeshire has nowhere near 65% coverage. So far, only Haverfordwest is upgraded and coverage there is VERY patchy at best.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Have added more emphasis, but the table of percentages is calculated by thinkbroadband and IS NOT current coverage. I thought original wording was clear when table was titled 'thinkbroadband analysis of potential superfast coverage in Wales if just FTTC deployed on top of existing cable coverage'
Posted by csimon over 2 years ago
"Once we have more information on the FTTP roll-out areas and are sure it will be deployed and also which EO lines will be upgraded then we will adjust our figures". good luck on that, they still steadfaslty refuse to give out that information, on the basis that "dates can cahange", which is rubbish as that's not what is being asked for.
Posted by AlanPot over 2 years ago
Perish the thought of SuperFast Cymru publishing their own figures. A recent Daily Post article by the North Wales Technology Minister in conduction with the Welsh Government and SuperFast Cymru boldly states that Anglesey was "one of the most connected parts of Western Europe". Yet at the end of April (one exchange has been added since) 10,000 out of the 32000 properties were able to access Fibre (BTs' own figures). My exchange is due for FTTP roll out and has already slipped 12 months. I do not believe in anything they say anymore.
Posted by welshwarrior over 2 years ago
Superfast Cymru have been a joke from the outset. I'd like to know how they choose which exchanges are being done.

In Pembrokeshire there are people crying out (in Tenby, Saundersfoot and Narberth exchanges)for fast Internet and they haven't even announced dates for these whereas they have announced tiny exchanges such as Crosswell, Moylegrove and Crymych where they'd be lucky to get 10% people upgrading to Fibre.

Just seems ludicrous to me.
Posted by csimon over 2 years ago
My exchange as enabled 10 months ago and areas already with good service off that (i.e. in the middle of towns and cities) were done straight off, but absolutely no indication of if my village will be upgraded & they refuse to say. Their newsletters are misnamed - there's no news in then all apart from meaningless propaganda figures of homes "passed" which are absolutely useless to anyone who's asked to receive the newsletter.
Posted by csimon over 2 years ago
Considering we're almost halfway through the project there is still a long way to go, only around 10% of properties in Wales able to order fibre-based broadband if I've done the research correctly? It also shows how much Openreach abandoned Wales in their commercial interests - the market, competition etc just didn't work and is probably the biggest failure yet.
Posted by astateoftrance over 2 years ago
@welshwarrior, I understand your point but if you look at the coverage map they are upgrading by geographic region not by demand, all the exchanges with upgrade dates are in a group in north pembs, exceptions of haverfordwest and pembroke. guessing that after that they will move on to the other areas.
Posted by welshwarrior over 2 years ago
@astateoftrance - yeah I've noticed that. The Pembroke Dock/Milford/Neyland exchanges are being done as part of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone. It just seems like a waste of money to be doing those North Pembs exchanges first when it's obvious they won't get the ROI on them. Fingers crossed that when the next batch are announced at the end of this month, I'll finally see Tenby on the list :)
Posted by astateoftrance over 2 years ago
Understand your frustration and hope you get a upgrade date soon but it's not really about ROI or whether it commercially viable, as most wont be, but about giving hopefully everyone access to superfast internet.

I am in north pembs BTW so I'm kinda biased :P
Posted by welshwarrior over 2 years ago
hahaha ;) I'm sure we'll get a date soon. I did email them last year and told Tenby was within the scope and that my cab was definitely getting upgraded. I'm just a bit impatient!!!!
Posted by AlanPot over 2 years ago
The big problem here seems to be FTTP deployment. Many of the exchanges are shown as FTTC/P however I have yet to hear of an area where P has occurred. Superfast Cymru's silence is deafening on any information and it seems any area destined for to the property have a very long wait.
Posted by AllanGP over 2 years ago
Yep, really disappointed in this project my Exchange (Caergwrle) has been upgraded in April but from what I can see they have only upgraded 2 cabinets, not including mine (which is number 5).

Total con!
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