Broadband reality in Wales
While Wales is not the only part of the UK where getting broadband can be a problem for some, it is one where public bodies are starting to take action that may help people and businesses. Carmarthen and Ceredigion Council has a survey that is ongoing to try and plot the problem areas in West Wales where broadband and mobile telephony are not available, or are intermittent or slow.
The survey started just over a month ago and has had 135 registrations so far. Around half of the registrations are from those that cannot get broadband due to line length issues or DACS line sharing devices (Digital Access Carrier System). From those getting broadband the majority appear to be saying that their speeds are under 2Mbps (Mega bits per second). Some more detail can be found in the local press.
Openreach has a policy of removing DACS units to allow people to have a DSL service and this has improved over the years, but they can still say that it is uneconomic to do so. Even when Openreach agrees to remove a DACS it can for some people take months for it to be accomplished. One word of caution, some broadband providers if they see a DACS message on ordering broadband will automatically reject the order before referring the order for checking by BT Wholesale or Openreach, so if you have a DACS and the order is rejected within 24 hours you are advised to try another broadband provider.
DACS are still allowed in the telephone network because Ofcom only requires telephone providers to support a functional Internet access speed of 28 Kilo bits per second which can be achieved by a dial-up modem on a DACS line.
It would be nice to see other public bodies running similar surveys as once it is known precisely where the problems are, that solutions can be found. For example with DACS, if two or three properties in the same street are affected the economics change, but Openreach will not have linked the requests for broadband that may be spread over a couple of years.