Broadband News

Bangor starts the ball rolling for Superfast Wales

The Superfast Cymru project that has £225m of public money to spend to improve broadband speeds across Wales has started to deliver leading on from the existing commercial roll-outs. The first cabinet has been installed in the High Street of Bangor (pop: ~13,000, excluding students), this means the Bangor exchange is enabled for FTTC and further cabinets will be added.

We have tried checking the availability to order via the BT Wholesale checker and the postcodes we have looked at show no signs of FTTC yet, so while cabinet may be present it may not be fully ready to provide an actual service.

The Superfast Wales website should hopefully update to reflect roll-out starting and give people an idea of the coverage around that cabinet, though if you are nearby you will possibly notice a cluster of press and politicians around it in the next few days.

The enabling of a city that will be seen as urban by those living in the real rural parts of Wales is important, as the exchange is likely to serve as a handover node for other exchanges. Interestingly the FibreSpeed project that was a multi-million project to increase backhaul competition in North Wales also has a major point of presence in the city, but aside from helping provide backhaul for fixed wireless services and some business parks, the SME and residential market has seen very little benefit from that spending.

Comments

Yep - this cabinet is roughly 200yds from where I'm sitting in work at the moment! It does seem ironic that the first cabinet in the project designed to help areas that have/will be ignored is in the middle of a an area where ADSL speeds are decent already, so we'll have to wait & see if the the huge rush of people clamouring to get more materialises - if not then we'll get claims of no interest and low take-up etc. But I'm trying to think positive and seeing this as a step forward.

  • csimon
  • over 4 years ago

Actually, in cases like this where the cabinet is around 300yds from the exchange, is there a huge benefit? The rest of the way to the house is copper surely and the cabinet is not going to knock much distance off that, or am I missing the point?

  • csimon
  • over 4 years ago

Not that close the the exchange i wouldnt think but the dropoff from distance seems quite steep so every meter counts. Some of us are stuck on 5.5km lines connected to that exchange. Typically BT upgrade the people able to get 20mb first. I suppose they have to start somewhere.

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

LL57 1YE area the bottom end of the high street is showing as 20mb up 78mb down.

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

I'm 8km from the exchange and 4.5km from my cabinet! I'm hoping the fibre cabinet will be built in our actual village, otherwise this grand expensive superfast Wales scheme is not going to actually deliver superfast broadband - would probably only bring me up to the current average UK ADSL2 speed!

  • csimon
  • over 4 years ago

And I hope when all those in Wales can finally achieve some decent speeds, people realise that BT isn't their only choice of provider. After years & years of dragging their feet and not investing in infrastructure where it's needed, investing in the future & reaping the benefits of gaining subscribers whree they could have lapped them up, BT (Group) have suddenly found the means to do it when they get a government handout. This proves their lack of interest in the customer and the infrastructure of the country. They don't deserve to get subscribers off the back of this.

  • csimon
  • over 4 years ago

"BT (Group) have suddenly found the means to do it when they get a government handout."

And a bit of competition from VM and more on the horizon. They have to buck up or fall behind.

  • camieabz
  • over 4 years ago

That population count doesn't seem to include student population that nearly doubles the figure you quoted Mr Ferguson. I know it's splitting hairs just saying.

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

cssimon -- this cab is a BDUK cab so one one was going their commercvially (FYI BT Group havew passed 13M holmes and installed inexcess of 32,000 street cabinete out of its own money to date (2.bn) dont see any one else rushing to build networks - Also BT Group network is open Access so you have a choince in excess of around 60 Providers selling FTTC services

  • fastman
  • over 4 years ago

That may well have affected the decision to rollout to Bangor first. A student population who will probably expect decent broadband. It may even affect their choice of university. Hence Welsh government intervention, who knows. ;-) The lack of commercial investment in infrastructure in this area really does put it at a disadvantage, we are not just talking about bonuses for BT shareholders at risk, this is actually a big subject and is why these things should not be in the hands of the private sector and left to the "market", whatever that is, we see very little market and competition here.

  • csimon
  • over 4 years ago

@fastman Yes, I know the service is open access and there are many providers, that's why I'm saying I hope people realise this and don't automatically go with BT Infinity because that's what they think it is. The Hoover and Sky syndrome!

  • csimon
  • over 4 years ago

On the population figure, have added it excludes students now.

Must admit when I have been to Bangor it does seem student heavy.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 4 years ago

Still quite a small population area to be getting this spending. i'm glad the assembly goverment are funding it and like csimon said i hope (though in vain i'm gessing) that BT don't profit too much from it.

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

Still quite a small population area to be getting this spending. i'm glad the assembly goverment are funding it and like csimon said i hope (though in vain i'm gessing) that BT don't profit too much from it.

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

if there was ever an "angry bt customer" it would be me. :)

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

If take-up is low then BT will not profit, if takeup is good 20% or higher than the Welsh Assembly can invoke clawback to get some money back, or re-invest this to improve services elsewhere.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 4 years ago

thank you.

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

so who funded this rollout?

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

why wasnt a better deal struck?

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

See the FAQ entitled "What is the total cost of this project, and public sector investment?" at http://www.superfast-wales.com/faqs

  • csimon
  • over 4 years ago

I have costed low volume of fully equipped cabs at £120 a port, so BT will paying half of that. The welsh job is 3,000 cabs (mostly)and 17,500km of fibre to be used in largely existing duct. The welsh subsidy is in excess of £220 per premise past (not connected) while the subsidy in Northern Ireland was £70 per premise past. The Public accounts committee will need to work hard to recover situation.

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 4 years ago

The £225m includes 90m from EU, and then Welsh and UK Gov money.

BT is adding £220m, but that includes the commercial spending, e.g. Cardiff/Swansea areas that have FTTC already

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 4 years ago

Hopefully this will speed up the rolllout around here. I see lots on the roadworks website of BT installing fibre and ducts etc but it's dribs and drabs. I am 10M from my cabinet and I now know it is the one that I am connected to with my phone line. So I hope for good speeds. There are markings someone from BTO made with spray paint on the grass and concrete so I know it will be done. Tey have also cut back all the trees that were around the cab - something they have not done for over 5 years.

  • pcoventry76
  • over 4 years ago

(From the Superfast Wales site "The Enterprise Zone areas are a priority for the project as these are areas of economic importance for Wales. "
Enterprise Zone Wales" With around 30% of the UK's energy supplies now coming via Pembrokeshire.....Based on existing and potential new energy sites the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone is a unique location..."

The truth the rollout timetable is a political fudge and stinks of political patronage with areas that are claimed to be a priority being left to the second tranche

Another stitch up for South West Wales.

  • warweezil
  • over 4 years ago

Will take a couple of months to commission the cabinet once it's physically present, including powering the thing, installing software, configuration, loading with line card(s), burn in, etc.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 4 years ago

working on sunday? maybe its just powering the cabinet or maybe they powering another canabiss factory? ROFL

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

thank you andrew for clearing that up it's exactly what i thought it was.

need a clean up crew over here. and not sight seeing over penrhyn castle like certain civil servants were doing this morning :)

  • bigbadpirate
  • over 4 years ago

Superfarce Wales, where you'll get FTTC pronto - if you happen to live where the idle rich and AM's have their holiday homes.

Everyone else will get the leftovers.

  • Koppo
  • over 4 years ago

@Koppo. I fired off a letter to The business minister expressing my views - I note that parts of her really rural constituency on the borders of Swansea are on the list. I copied in my MP and AM. Awaiting replies. Its all we can do. But you just knew that the Cardiff bay Mafia would do a backdoor deal on this depending on the political colour of the area. Cornwall County Council did a better and fairer job of the the roll out than the clowns in Cardiff bay

  • warweezil
  • over 4 years ago

I'm loving the Conwy Council position on the rollout map, a lonely island of mediocrity surrounded on all sides by areas that have already seen some towns receive fibre. The vast stretch of the North Wales coast that has been ignored and forgotten (Rhyl don't count) for years continues to be a shining beacon of clustered not-spots. Hell, we only literally just got 21cn in our local exchange. Ann Beynon and the Welsh AM's - they're all in this together.

  • Koppo
  • over 4 years ago

BT gave you 21cn? You are doing better from them than Pembroke. ADSL2 arrived here last year when TalkTalk unbundled (at long last) BT are still dragging their heels. We provide 30% of the UK energy needs through this area,but we are still on old tech telecoms.

Cardiff bay is just another old pals club where a nod, a wink, a secret handshake is the order of the day. They are still finding ways to subvert this roll out and funnel the money to areas that are within easy reach of major centres while ignoring much of the real rural areas. I'm waiting for the letter of denial from Ms Hart

  • warweezil
  • over 4 years ago

@csimon, the WG advise that 96% of people in Wales will get ‘superfast broadband as a result of this project. Thus your post is failing to realise this, or to understand superfast broadband? As per the advice on the Superfast Cymru website FTTC is not the only solution which negates your cabinet distance argument. As for ‘years of feet dragging’ then it may have to do with the realities of the commercial world… we can’t expect business to invest to upgrade infrastructure when there is no commercial driver? Therefore we in Wales should be pleased that BDUK and the WG are making this happen?

  • Johnty1984
  • over 4 years ago

That doesn't cover the fact that some reasonably sized exchanges have been left out of ANY investment for years until public money was made available. My own one is said by engineers to be 10,000 lines - the figure on the web has never been updated despite a lot of new developments going up. We have for years paid a premium for services deemed not good enough for other areas.

(contd)

  • warweezil
  • over 4 years ago

It took an LLU operator to arrive just to push BT into issuing a date for WBC on my exchange - where private fast links have existed for some time for some large users - like the 2 call centres, the college and the L.A.network - I'm unsure what the 2 refineries, 2 LNG plants and the power station use. For too long we have been paying through the nose for overpriced out of date IPSC services on equipment that is 1. more than paid for and 2. often salvaged from areas that have been upgraded - and for this we actually pay MORE than WBC costs.

  • warweezil
  • over 4 years ago

So forgive some of us if we are not jumping with joy that public money *might* be used to stop BT reaming us - that assumes that there is any monet left for real Rural Wales by the time Cardiff Bays' pets have been provisioned despite many of them not meeting the criteria for Priority they have been pushed to the front of the queue ahead of areas (like Pembrokeshire) that DOES meet the Criteria (Enterprise zone).

The whole thing is a politically motivated farce

  • warweezil
  • over 4 years ago

As a north Walian I find it amusing that someone from the south is complaining about lack of investment from the assembly!

There is no money from Joe Public to pay for this, BT know that and so invest appropriately. If you want fast internet, you can pay for it - as the call centres and colleges do - or wait for government subsidy. Wales is both rural and poor, a terrible combination for high tech.

  • nOw2
  • over 4 years ago

@warweezil, once again the 96% figure seems to be missed from your logic in favour of doom and gloom "if's and maybe's." In future, if we believe what we are being told 19 of 20 of us WILL get SFBB, not MIGHT. According to the web Pwllheli & DOlgellau are being worked in right now... are they 'rural enough??'

  • Johnty1984
  • over 4 years ago

Given that they cant even keep to the criteria stated on the site that they set up for this Is it any surprise that we doubt their word? For years people have been telling me that my 10k line exchange is "too small" now it seems the smaller ones are being done and we must again wait. South wales gets plenty... WEST wales gets little, ignore the political redrawing of the map, Before euro funding Port Talbot and Swansea were happy to be "South Wales" but now they have moved westwards apparently. (contd)

  • warweezil
  • over 4 years ago

The doom and gloom comes from the expectation of a cash shortage well before they reach the 3 south western counties that they are currently busy ignoring. Much in the same way as BT have been ignoring us for WBC.

  • warweezil
  • over 4 years ago

Yeah, the driving logic behind which areas are commercially viable and which aren't is mind boggling. Case in point: Hawarden, Flintshire. Place in the ass-end of nowhere with just over 7.5k lines. No nearby POP, must have taken signifigant infrastructure uograding for backbone capacity etc. FTTC available since last year. My own exchange - 10K+ easily, only just got WBC.

  • Koppo
  • over 4 years ago

I heard back from my AM who agrees that it seems to be at odds with the stated objectives. No word from Ms Hart (whose Swansea constituency contains an area benefiting from first phase inclusion), but they estimate a reply within 15 days. I quoted the Superfarce site to her - lets see how she justifies departing from the "priority" objectives the site talks of. I still think there is a political bias in this. The bottom left corner of wales has been totally left out of the first phase.

  • warweezil
  • over 4 years ago

@Koppo, Hawarden is right next to Chester/Wrexham so its not in the middle of no where and their are other exchanges nearby that have been enabled by Openreach in their commercial deployment.

FTTC will come to South West Wales is just going to take time, as the current deployment is still a good distance away.
Furthest west on the South coast is GORSEINON and the Furthest on the West coast is DOLGELLAU which is one of the first Welsh BDUK exchanges.
Just have to wait for the project to deliver like the other BDUK projects.

  • ccxo
  • over 4 years ago

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