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eXwavia Aim to Make Montgomeryshire the Fastest UK Rural Broadband Region

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 (8:00 am) - Score 760

Wales focused ISP Exwavia, which uses wireless networking (wifi) to deploy faster broadband into isolated rural areas, has announced that it plans to turn Montgomeryshire into the “fastest rural broadband region in the UK“. At the same time their related service coverage in the Cefn Coch and Adfa areas (near Welshpool, Powys) has also been extended to connect 80 properties.

Apparently the 80 previously isolated local homes and businesses can now receive internet download speeds from between 4-20Mbps (Megabits per second) via the ISPs wireless service, although faster 60Mbps solutions are available for some firms. Prices start from around £20 a month for an “unlimited” (Fair Usage Policy) home user package.

The service installation would normally be prohibitively expensive (costs up to around £1,000) but Exwavia has been able to cut this out of the equation by utilising the Welsh Government’s (WAG) popular £2m Broadband Support Scheme (BSS). This offers grants worth up to £1,000 for residents and businesses (per property) who live in parts of Wales where either no broadband or only sub-2Mbps speeds are available.

Annette Burgess, Managing Director of eXwavia, said

The new broadband network demonstrates how almost any rural community can get fast and reliable broadband where there is demand. We’ve worked closely with Pete Jones who has acted as a passionate broadband champion within the community and spearheaded a local campaign.

We’re now working with other communities in north Powys to bring more fast and reliable broadband into homes and businesses. We want to make Montgomeryshire the fastest and most reliable rural location for broadband in the UK.”

The region of Montgomeryshire, which resides in the principal area of Powys (county), is known to be one of the UK’s most rural and isolated regions. That makes deploying faster internet connectivity particularly challenging. But eXwavia’s network in the area has been made possible through a unique Microwave link to Long Mountain near Welshpool, which connects to FibreSpeed’s fibre optic network in North Wales.

According to Ofcom, residents inside Powys receive some of the UK’s slowest fixed line broadband “modem sync” speeds (5.3Mbps) and 21.2% of locals only have access to sub-2Mbps connectivity. No superfast fixed-line broadband services are currently available and broadband take-up stands at 62%.

The Microwave link is apparently then connected to masts at Cefn Coch and Adfa, which distributes the service over local wifi connectivity. Exwavia claims that, as a result of this new link, rural communities throughout north Powys now have the potential to get “fast and reliable broadband which is currently unavailable through conventional telephone lines“.

Leave a Comment
10 Responses
  1. Avatar MooHeaven

    Going to have a way 2 go 2 catch up with http://b4rn.org.uk/ who will be delivering 1gbps to every subscrber and have begun building their netowrk…

    20-60Mps? Hardly anything when compared to whit b4RN are doin is it?

  2. Avatar New_Londoner

    Let’s not confuse sync speed with throughput. IIRC the backhaul on the B4RN network will equate to about 15Mbps per user, so similar to FTTC. No idea what the equivalent figure is for eXwavia, but simply looking at sync speeds can give a very misleading picture of the real-world experience.

  3. It might have trouble catching up with B4RN but then nobody in Montgomeryshire has access to that service. At least Exwavia are trying to offer something better for the locals.

  4. Avatar FibreAddict

    Does anybody know what B4RN are doing for the connectivity once off of their own network deployment? I read the business plan and that states that they shall lease dark fibre at two core nodes and run DWDM 10Gb links to Telecity in Manchester. Trouble is I think these might be pretty expensive (I’m thinking > £100k per annum) and I see no evidence that this cost is known to the B4RN team. I fear that all of this talk of 1Gb might come to nothing when they realise that the numbers don’t stack up and have to put in fractional Gb leased lines to a larger ISP.

    Rutland do this to some extent. Their Hambleton FTTP network runs at 1Gb within their network, but the internet break out is only 50Mb.

    • B4RN is leasing dark fibre to Telecity, Manchester where we peer and take IP transit. DWDM kit being installed has capacity to deliver 16x100Gbs pipes. Initally lighting 4x10Gbs but we will light more as traffic warrants it. We have already contracted for the fibre and DWDM kit so costs are known and factored into budget.

    • Avatar Fibre Addict


      So out of interest, what is the cost of the dark fibre?

  5. Avatar NilSatis

    So West to Machyllneth and East to Churchstoke North to Llanygnog and South to Llangurig, not forgetting the principle towns of this old county, Newtown Welshpool and Llanidloes who have 13,000+ fixed lines between them , many of these lines would not fall under the Welsh broadband scheme and to achieve “fastest rural broadband region in the UK“. I won’t be holding my breath!

    • Avatar Tom

      There is currently a fibre connection running down the N. Wales coast, from Caernarfon to Pwllheli it’s unlit. There could be scope to create a PoP and run a mesh network down your neck of the woods. Certainly it could go out down the Llyn Peninsular.

  6. Avatar Dino-saw

    Wow 4-20Mbs – yes please I just done a speed test on my rural Lincolnshire 2Mbs line and got these results.

    Download speed achieved during the test was – 0.05 Mbps
    For your connection, the acceptable range of speeds is 0.05 Mbps-0.25 Mbps.
    Additional Information:
    Your DSL Connection Rate :0.19 Mbps(DOWN-STREAM), 0.45 Mbps(UP-STREAM)
    IP Profile for your line is – 0.14 Mbps

    BT should be shut down as an illegal monopolistic fraud.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Ironic comment given county have just awarded the contract to provide much faster broadband to BT, with much of the money coming from the company! Just as well nobody took your advice then.

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