Broadband News

UK Broadband (Relish) to be recommended for Superfast Swindon

Fixed wireless broadband can produce some great speed test results and we have highlighted Relish (UK Broadband) for their 3.5GHz 4G LTE coverage in the parts of London with patchy fast broadband coverage previously and based on what is being said down in Swindon the firm may soon get the contract to extend Superfast Broadband coverage in Swindon.

"And next week, the project team will recommend that the council’s cabinet approve a bid from UKB Networks for an extension of UK Broadband’s existing 4G-LTE Fixed Wireless network in Swindon."

Swindon some time ago lost £400,000 on a failed wireless project in the town, and UK Broadband did have a presence a while ago before the launch of Relish in London. As things stand we are seeing people posting speed test results from Swindon (example test result) which are showing better than the average result for ADSL2+ but still below what you would hope for from something being installed as superfast in 2015. So if the recommendation for the Relish 4G service is accepted one presumes that the speed dial will be turned up, otherwise we will see those residents of Haydon Wick stuck with ADSL2+ speeds complaining about still being a lot slower than the parts where Virgin Media is available. Of course the massive advantage to a LTE deployment is you can cover an area at relatively low cost and by ensuring a wireless sector is aimed towards any new build areas you can get reasonable broadband coverage very quickly, even before the builders have moved out. Another key point in favour for a 4G LTE roll-out would be that coverage could very easily be got to very close 100% rather than the more common 95% superfast target.

Relish has figured in our monthly speed test results several times, but one observation is that while decent speeds are possible the actual tests look very like a Wi-Fi based result, i.e. the speed is variable rather than the nice steady speed you can get from a fixed line connection, plus it has been highlighted to us before that the Relish service appears to suffer drop-outs, whether they are down to the signal, modem or a big lorry in the road outside blocking the signal for 20 seconds is hard to tell. More worryingly the data we have suggests either the Relish service is slowing down, or the fast users are too busy using their connections now to bother doing speed tests.

Swindon as an area has shown some improvements in speeds since the summer most likely due to increased take-up of FTTC services and the faster Virgin Media services and was actually the sixth fastest Unitary Authority in the UK in Q4/2014 based on median download speeds. Q4/2014 median speed 21.1 Mbps, lower quartile speed 8.6 Mbps, upper quartile speed 44.9 Mbps and a mean (average) of 32 Mbps. The upload statistics are median 2.7 Mbps, mean 4.4 Mbps, lower quartile 0.8 Mbps, upper quartile 5.8 Mbps.


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