For those living and working in Wales the roll-out of fibre based broadband while controversial will for the vast majority be an improvement on the current ADSL and ADSL2+ based services, so the release of a list of the next sixty six communities that will benefit from the Superfast Cymru project is a step in the right direction.
Ammanford, Bancyfelin, Bettisfield, Betws-Y-Coed, Broadhaven, Bucknell, Burry Port, Camrose, Carew, Cemmaes Road, Clawdd Newydd, Clynderwen, Colwyn Bay, Croes Goch, Cross Ash, Cynwyl Elfed, Dale, Dolwyddelan, Ferryside, Fishguard, Glandyfi, Glasbury, Gobion, Kidwelly, Lamphey, Laugharne, Letterston, Little Mill, Llansilan, Llanboidy, Llanddarog, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llandybie, Llangadfan, Llangadog, Llangeitho, Llangennech, Llangrannog, Llanpumsaint, Llanrwst, Llansannan, Llanstephan, Llantilio, Llyswen, Manorbier, Meifod, Nantgaredig, Narberth, Old Colwyn, Pendine, Penmaenmawr, Pontarddulais, Pontyates, Pontyberem, Raglan, Rhos-on-Sea, Rhydlewis, St Clears, St Davids, Talley, Tonyrefail, Treffgarne, Trimsaran, Tynygroes, Whitland66 new communities that will benefit from fibre based roll-out by June 2015
The press release reports that the average speed in areas already covered by Superfast Broadband in Wales is 61 Mbps, but it is not clear whether this is an estimate or from actual speed test measurements in areas with cable and/or FTTC coverage. The average we recorded for Wales in June/July 2014 was 8.6 Mbps download and 0.9 Mbps upload, which is some way behind Northern Ireland at 18.6 Mbps and 2.2 Mbps (England 17 Mbps and 1.9 Mbps, Scotland 13.9 Mbps and 1.1 Mbps).
Clearly there is a long way to go in Wales and a diminishing time frame to hit the target date in 2016 when 96% will have the option of some form of fibre based broadband service, but it does take time to deploy 3,000 cabinets and the estimated 17,500 kilometres of fibre optic cable needed. While there will be lots of complaints about the use of FTTC for the majority of connections, we believe that some native FTTP is to be deployed where it makes economic sense to either enable Exchange Only lines or for clusters of properties too far from a cabinet to receive a reasonable boost in speed from VDSL2.