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What does Superfast Cymru report mean to the overall picture?
Thursday 17 March 2016 13:54:37 by Andrew Ferguson

Mark over at ISPreview managed to find a set of coverage figures released by the Superfast Cymru project and as we have our own coverage tracking we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to marry the two sets of data to see how two different models differ.

The key difference between the thinkbroadband figures and those from the Superfast Cymru project is that we include the commercial coverage from the Openreach and Virgin Media. The pace of the roll-out is visible and the impact of the Superfast Cymru project is clearly visible in areas like Bridgend

thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage across the Wales
thinkbroadband (tbb) figures include gap funded and commercial
Area Percentage of Superfast Cymru Eligible Premises Complete % fibre based % superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under proposed 10 Mbps USO
Source Superfast Cymru tbb tbb tbb tbb tbb
Combined Welsh Total n/a 90.6% 85% 0.4% 0.9% 8.3%
Blaenau Gwent (*) 96.23% 99.1% 95.4% 0.3% 0.5% 3.1%
Bridgend 83.42% 96.5% 92% 0.09% 0.4% 2.3%
Caerphilly 84.75% 97.5% 92.8% 0% 0.5% 1.7%
Cardiff 49.38% 97.3% 95.2% 0% 0% 1.6%
Carmarthenshire 60.35% 75.3% 67.7% 0% 1.8% 19.8%
Ceredigion (*) 53.87% 65.9% 52.4% 0.73% 3.7% 36.4%
Conwy (*) 84.11% 89.9% 81.1% 0% 0.8% 9.9%
Denbighshire 67.73% 82.7% 76.4% 0% 0.7% 14%
Flintshire 70.87% 92.9% 85.6% 3.35% 0.6% 7.5%
Gwynedd (*) 74.44% 84.8% 73.6% 3.22% 2% 17%
Anglesey (*) 75.14% 86% 75% 4.09% 1.7% 16.9%
Merthyr Tydfil (*) 94.24% 99.4% 93.6% 2.25% 1.1% 2.5%
Monmouthshire 55.99% 82.3% 71.8% 1.64% 2.2% 15.1%
Neath Port Talbot 79.59% 94.4% 90% 0% 0.5% 4.1%
Pembrokeshire (*) 71.38% 78.7% 69.8% 0.1% 1.6% 19.4%
Powys (*) 57.22% 64.5% 52.5% 0.17% 2.9% 32.8%
Rhondda Cynon Taf 92.75% 98.2% 93.1% 0% 0.9% 2.6%
Swansea 72.35% 95.5% 92.9% 0.24% 0.1% 2.4%
Torfaen 85.45% 96.2% 93.4% 0.06% 0.3% 2.4%
Vale of Glamorgan 69.85% 93.6% 89.4% 0.11% 0.9% 5.7%
Wrexham 71.63% 92.5% 84.4% 0.99% 0.7% 6.4%
(*) areas which had no superfast prior to project
To fit in the extra column of figures from Superfast Cymru we have dropped our superfast (>24 Mbps) column, and the ultrafast column from this summary table.

In theory the superfast coverage percentages should be directly comparable between Superfast Cymru and the thinkbroadband figures for the rows marked (*) and we usually quote a tolerance of +/- 1% on our data since with the dynamic nature of the roll-out, exchange only conversions, new build premises and simply building the model we know you cannot be 100% accurate. This means that for Conwy we are suggesting coverage lower than the project, our 24 Mbps figure is 82.7% is closer of course and it may be that the difference is more about how you model the drop off of VDSL2 speeds over distance. In the areas where we've checked against what Openreach estimate we find our estimate is towards the bottom end of the range i.e. we are pessimistic. The other area is Powys and there we estimate 54% can get superfast at 24 Mbps or faster which is still below the projects own figures so will shift Powys up our cycle of areas to manually review and check the modelled cabinet positions and status of exchange only work. It may turn out that we find no significant extra coverage and the difference is just our pessimism over the impact of line length and crosstalk.

Wales is increasingly adding native FTTP to various areas and even though we updated our analysis on the 14th March, there are another three FTTP areas to add in the Newport area. The project overall has an aim of 96% fibre based coverage by the end of the year, which looks like it will be hit at the current pace, the next phase pushing on into 2017 is an additional 42,000 premises (3 to 4%) which is likely to take superfast coverage to 95% and we expect that this will be a mixture of infill for premises not getting superfast from an existing cabinet as well as cabinet areas seeing work for the first time.

Update Friday 18th March We spent Thursday evening doing a full manual review of Powys and in the process found a chunk more native FTTP and also Exchange Only upgrades that were more widespread than previous thought. Additionally three cabinets for previously exchange only that the model presumed to be in the exchange yard were spotted by virtue of users speed testing to be located further from the exchange. We are confident now that for Powys the difference is in the methodology and our adoption of a near worst case crosstalk scenario. There may be some improvements to be found in Conwy as we have not completed the sweep in that area. Newport saw a small boost as we had spotted earlier in the week some new FTTP areas that had previously not been processed for the statistics.

Updated thinkbroadband calculations of Superfast, USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage across the Wales
thinkbroadband (tbb) figures include gap funded and commercial
Area Percentage of Superfast Cymru Eligible Premises Complete % fibre based % superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under proposed 10 Mbps USO
Source Superfast Cymru tbb tbb tbb tbb tbb
Combined Welsh Total n/a 90.7% +0.1 85.1% +0.1 0.45% +0.05 0.9% = 8.2% -0.1
Conwy (*) 84.11% 89.9% = 81.1% +0.3 0% = 0.8% = 9.9% =
Powys (*) 57.22% 65.8% +1.3 53.7% +1.2 0.79% +0.62 2.9% -0.1 32.8% -0.5
Newport 72.81% 96.4% +0.3 93.6% +0.2 0.23% +0.14 0.2% = 2.5% +0.2


Posted by Llety 7 months ago
Its one thing the web sites (Superfast, BT, etc) saying you can order and then BT accepting your order and then actually getting Openreach to connect you up.

The reality on the ground is very, very different.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
If people can show the connection data from the router and speed test data that our coverage checker is wrong, and its not just one premise in a postcode with an oddity then happy to review and decrease coverage levels accordingly.
Posted by jumpmum 7 months ago
I think the Superfast Cymru coverage is based on 24Mb so maybe comparing with 24Mb rather than 30Mb would have been a better fit.

Liety; Are you suggesting there are problems ordering / connecting FTTC or just the known difficulties getting FTTP completed and working.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
Double checked and Wales is working to the EU 30 Mbps definition. There is ERDF (EU) money in the project which means the higher definition usually used.
Posted by Llety 7 months ago
Known? Unless you read a site like this it is very unknown, include BT staff, marketing in particular.

5 houses have tried to order FTTP and 5 very different sets of excuses.
Posted by csimon 7 months ago
@Llety unless you're my neighbour I guess you're in a copletely different postcode! But my situation is the same. 5 of us have ordered FTTP and we've all had different excuses. I've now had a date of April 1st (yeah, right!) after I sent stroppy emails to SFC and reported Openreach to Ofcom and threatened them with Watchdog...but even that is 8 months after order. They are just not interested in delivering FTTP. Either that or there really is a lead time of at least a year.
Posted by csimon 7 months ago
@jumpmum: Known difficulties? Who is it that knows? It's not publicised anywhere that BT cannot deliver FTTP. I've only found out myself due to trial and error and months of banging my head against the brick wall that is BT. SFC don't seem to know, ISPs don't seem to know, the government doesn't seem to know.
Posted by wittgenfrog 7 months ago
I live in Rural Pembs, and have an Exchange Only line. FTTP is mooted, but only vaguely.
My Exchange (Llanteg) is due to be "fiberised". But the date keeps slipping (09/15, 01/16, ...etc).
There's no commitment of any kind on Superfast Cymryu's website other than the statement that my "Exchange is in Scope".

Further digging (by Postcode) gets an even less helpful response that "You might consider the Access Broadband Cymru scheme. Find out more about the fibre journey. "

Reading between the lines this says "Forget it mate"
Posted by hungerdunger 7 months ago
I'm in Carmarthenshire. My exchange has been upgraded but when I put my number into their availability checker I get:
"FTTP In Scope
You are connected to cabinet number 1 on the Llanddarog exchange.

Your area is in scope for the roll out of Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), although it's possible that the technology may change.

Work is ongoing to deploy the fibre network locally, however there's no guarantee of fibre service at individual premise level."

I'm not holding my breath.
Posted by wittgenfrog 7 months ago
Superfast Cymru site now updated:
"... Timescales for FTTP rollout are highly variable. It is anticipated that you will be able to place a fibre order by the end of June 2017. In the meantime you may wish to explore the Welsh Government Access Broadband Cymru scheme which could help you gain access to alternative broadband products...."

All well & good, but the ONLY alternative to 4.5Mb/s (or less) ADSL is satellite, at huge cost & mediocre performance.
Posted by patches 7 months ago
Very interesting figures! Llanynys, Denbighshire, very small exchange covering us, has cabinet1 FTTC but 72% of the subscribers are not likely to see any benefit as Openreach have moved on the large neighbouring exchange, Denbigh. Our house is 200yds from the nearest Denbigh FTTP!
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