Welsh consultation postcodes added to thinkbroadband maps and checker system
There are a few weeks left in the last Superfast Cymru broadband consultation that is seeking input on what should happen for the premises it has identified across Wales which are thought to be missing out from the existing project or commercial roll-outs.
We have added the 15,763 postcodes to their own dedicated layer on our maps system letting people quickly see where work to improve which will hopefully be underway in 2018 is located. On our initial viewing of the layer we noticed there was some overlapping going on, and this is down to several factors.
- Wales is working to a 30 Mbps and faster definition of superfast, so our maps which currently show over 24 Mbps as superfast may also show up on the Welsh NGA White dataset.
- We have found a number of postcodes where the majority can get native GEA-FTTP but a handful of premises cannot. These postcodes are marked as NGA White, and the premise count from the white list should only count those that meet the criteria.
- Some postcodes may be split over two or more cabinet areas, and for our postcode level system we take the majority result, for statistical purposes we have found that this balances out over complete exchange areas. The NGA white postcode list should be showing the number of premises where work is still needed.
Keeping large data sets like the broadband ones we track is no easy task, and with the roll-outs still underway things are changing constantly, so finding errors in any data set is not unusual, but the importance of the NGA consultations means that councils and devolved administrations should be spending a lot more time than we do on getting things right. We fairly quickly have identified some errors, e.g. SA3 3LE claims 29 premises meet the criteria for further investment when in reality they all appear to have native GEA-FTTP with speeds up to 330 Mbps available today and Gigabit options in the near future. Another postcode oddity is NP4 8LQ which we believe should be part of the NGA white list, where we estimate that VDSL2 speeds of 17 Mbps are likely and BT Wholesale show ranges from 17 to 46 Mbps for premises in the postcode, and from looking at a few other overlapping other postcodes that are in the list we'd have expected at least some premises to qualify. Also there appears to be some discrepancies in the premise counts where multiple premises appear to exist with no obvious plan but only one is in the published list.
Therefore we urge people in Wales who do not have any superfast option now to double check what the consultation says for you, since correcting things once the contracts have been awarded can be a lot more complicated, especially if there are more premises than originally expected that need help.