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Every Welsh exchange to have fibre work begin in September 2015
Thursday 16 October 2014 08:52:03 by Andrew Ferguson

The work to improve broadband speeds across Wales has been a long climb and there is still lots of work to do in many areas, but the latest target announced might backfire if the way it is communicated gives the wrong impression. The Welsh Government in conjunction with BT has announced 'that work is planned to start in every telephone exchange in Wales by the end of September 2015 bringing superfast internet speeds to even more villages and towns across the country'.

Update 10am The full press release is on wales.gov.uk and includes a list of the exchanges which will be in this final wave of exchanges.

The key message as those who have seen fibre based improvements arrive in their exchange is that this can mean just one cabinet is offering the new faster FTTC service, or it could mean all the cabinets are offering service, and all the other permutations, including none, some or all of the Exchange Only lines re-engineered to offer FTTC or FTTP.

Median speeds from thinkbroadband speed test for Cardiff, Conwy and Glamorgan areas
click image for higher resolution version

While easy to see this release as a political reaction to the complaints about swathes of Wales being ignored, the timing is probably right if the project is to keep up with its deadline of completing in Spring 2016, i.e. we will in the next 11 months continue to see the roll-out accelerate and also the amount of FTTP involved in the Welsh project to increase too. When we looked at what the superfast coverage across Wales might look like earlier this year, we arrived at a figure of 80.2% at 30 Mbps or faster, but this ignored any Exchange Only and FTTP work so the contracted goal of 90% at superfast is still achievable.

"The Superfast Cymru programme is ambitious and challenging, bringing fast fibre broadband across Wales. We should not underestimate the sheer scale of it.

From Aberdaron in Gwynedd to Skenfrith in Monmouthshire communities will have the option of accessing fast fibre broadband. This is a tremendous achievement and excellent news for businesses and households.

By the time the Superfast Cymru programme is completed in Spring 2016 Wales will be one of the most highly connected countries in Europe with 96 per cent of premises able to access faster internet speeds."

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James

Of course no matter how many millions are spent if you are one of those in the 4% not likely to see a fibre based service improvement from the programme then you will the programme a waste of money, the same for those with long distances between the cabinet and their premises of 3km or more which we believe is only around 2.5% of lines in the UK.

The results from our speed test show the wide range of speeds across Wales, looking at two smaller areas Bangor was at the forefront of the roll-out and is now showing a median speed of 19.2 Mbps in the last quarter, compared to Llandudno and Colwyn Bay where the median is 9 Mbps but this should shortly improve as the first fibre based services go live.

Comments

Posted by csimon over 2 years ago
I guess we just need to have confidence that the targets will be met by the end date of June 2016, but their PR tactics have been awful. These announcements of "start dates" mean absolutely nothing & it raises false hopes that people are going to get it, which is exactly the excuse they give for not publicising schedules. My exchange was "started" well over a year ago but I'm still waiting and still they refuse to give info.
Posted by hughbar over 2 years ago
I live in Barmouth , Gwynedd and got fibre optic connection in January - live 150 metres from cabinet - speed of 37 - 38 Mbps. I am lucky as 50% of Town still awaiting with no completion date given . ISP is EE - had dropage problem in August - Open reach engineer arrived unannounced from Birmingham - 150 miles away - 300 miles round trip !! Lucky that we were at home. All problems were rectified.
Posted by flippery over 2 years ago
Although my daughter local exchange,in powys, is due for fibre upgrade in 2015. It is extremely unlikely many of the outlying properties will have access ever.
Luckily, Xwavia had area funded through previous Welsh Funding program, now defunct.
Must admit the Xwavia wireless is as good as my ADSL2+ and is SDSL.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 2 years ago
"I live in Barmouth , Gwynedd and got fibre optic connection in January - live 150 metres from cabinet - speed of 37 - 38 Mbps."

It's not a fibre optic connection, more likely a VDSL service over your existing twisted pair copper wire going into the premise.

The Welsh example, like in most other parts of the UK, shows that it is more of a postcode lottery and upto-whatever fraudband, not fibre broadband.
Posted by astateoftrance over 2 years ago
@JNeuhoff - While not technically correct I see no problem with calling FTTC Fibre... and if as planned my cabinet is upgraded I will get a speed increase from around 6 Mbps to 76 Mbps.. sure I will feel hard done by. I know it depends on the distance from the cabinet so not the right solution for all premises but in many it will give a very good speed increase.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Also the project seems to know about it, hence target of 96% on fibre based solutions, with aim of 90% superfast.

Also Wales has started to deliver FTTP in some areas where the economics stack up.
Posted by astateoftrance over 2 years ago
@andrew - yes my exchange area is marked as a mixture of FTTC/P so will be interesting to see where gets the FTTP, doubt I will as I am in a village with a cabinet. who knows though...
Posted by indigobananajam over 2 years ago
There does seem to be a good amount of activity for FTTP rollout in wales. Much more so than in Cumbria
Posted by sarad over 2 years ago
Original rollout date for Llanuwchllyn was June 2014. Now http://www.superfast-cymru.com/ states, when I input my number, that rollout will begin December 2014 BUT if I query the county of Gwynedd it states rollout will begin June 2015! You could not make it up!
Posted by chilting over 2 years ago
"Every Welsh exchange to have fibre work begin in September 2015" means - Expect to see lots of FTTC cabinets in place by the end of September 2015 but don't expect them to be connected to the network.
Posted by astateoftrance over 2 years ago
@sarad - I get the same thing for my area, it says March 2015 but when I click my area on the map it says June 2015! Who knows, doesn't seem like they do lol
Posted by Koppo over 2 years ago
More soundbite from Superfarce, conveniently omitting the fact that a lot of the exchanges enabled under this project still have loads of cabinets not connected. Standard methodology is: do the exchange work, enable a couple of adjacent cabs, mark it off as "job done" on the Superfarce website, so they can tick the statistics checkboxes, then move onto the next exchange and do exactly the same thing.
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