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Wales UK Superfast Broadband Rollout Project Reaches 135K Premises

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 (3:32 pm) - Score 404

The Superfast Cymru scheme, which is supported by public funding and aims to make BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network (speeds of up to 80Mbps) available to 96% of Welsh premises by the end of spring 2016, has now helped a total of 134,707 premises (most are homes and 4% businesses) in Wales to access the new connectivity.

In a new statement the Welsh Government has also revealed that its project, which is often said to be worth £425 million (this is only possible if you include BT’s separate commercial investment), also intends to have enabled around 480,000 households by Spring 2015 (roughly one third of all households in Wales) and the end-goal is still 690,000 by completion.

In addition, at least 40% of all the premises in the intervention area will apparently also be able to benefit from access to service speeds that offer in excess of 100Mbps. At present the best BT’s FTTC solution can deliver is ‘up to’ 80Mbps, while their FTTP deployment is far too small to meet this target, although the forthcoming addition of Vectoring technology might help push FTTC to 100Mbps+ but that would only be a headline speed.

It’s also noted that the current take-up figure for BT’s new street cabinets (FTTC), specifically those which have been in place for over one year, continues to hover around 19%. The latest update reminds how the Welsh Government recently published a list of the 53,000 postcodes, which comprise the Superfast Cymru intervention area; these postcodes are said to cover around 730,000 premises and the programme aims to provide “fast fibre broadband” to 95% of these (i.e. the 690,000 figure).

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, said:

However, the roll-out of the Superfast Cymru programme is based on delivering contracted speeds rather than the use of particular technologies and we employ the most appropriate solution to deliver these speeds. The current average speed resulting from the programme is 61Mbps – more than twice the contractual minimum speed and 44Mbps above the UK Broadband average.

We carry out a rigorous testing and verification process to ensure that we only pay for premises which exceed the speed thresholds, and are eligible for payment under the contract. We will shortly be publishing details of the approach we use to testing and verification on the Superfast Cymru website, along with a summarised description of the outputs and controls afforded to us by our contract with BT.

Finally, the Welsh Government states that they’re currently working on a Superfast Broadband Infill Project, which is based off the additional £12.11m allocated by the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and is to be delivered in two phases. The first phase is likely to involve expanding coverage within the current project’s timescale, while the second phase will involve upgrades that take place after Spring 2016; both intend to focus on helping those in the final 4%.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar NGA for all says:

    So that’s about 500 cabinets worth or 5 cabs a week for two years. At in excess of £60k+ subsidy each (£205M subsidy /3,000). So the money will protecting jobs as opposed to paying to train fibre engineers.

  2. Avatar Chris Conder says:

    It isn’t fibre broadband unless its fibre to the home. Homes passed are just that. Passed by. Only those close to the cabinets will get those speeds, the rest will get rubbish, that is why take up is so poor. Its all a superfarce.

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