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AB Internet’s 50Mbps Wireless Broadband Goes Live in Monmouthshire

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 (11:25 am) - Score 1,640

UK ISP AB Internet appears to have completed the deployment of its £847,650 state aid supported and 50Mbps capable hybrid fixed line and ‘line-of-sight’ wireless broadband network in the rural south Wales (UK) county of Monmouthshire.

The project was one of seven Market Test Pilots (MTP) to proceed as part of the Broadband Delivery UK programme’s £10 million Innovation Fund, which was only last month hailed by the Government as a “success” (here). All of the pilots are required to have deployed their networks by March 2016 and AB Internet appears to be one of the last to do so.

The picture above gives a rough idea of local network coverage, although oddly they display this as an inconspicuously difficult to distinguish shade of sandy yellow.

Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire Councillor, said:

“We’re delighted to bring a superfast broadband service to Monmouthshire’s hard to reach rural areas. This landmark initiative makes the county better connected and more resilient in the digital age as a great place to live, work and play and more competitive in the Cardiff Capital Region.

The initiative also helps the authority to make a reality of its iCounty vision to become one of the most inspiring spaces for digital advancement, an iCounty characterized by a growing digital economy, a smarter public service and a more networked society.”

The council claims that AB Internet’s wireless service is available to communities “across Monmouthshire,” although the pilot is officially only setup to cater for a total of 1,600 premises and it anticipates that around 288 of those could take the service within its initial deployment period. The total cost per premises passed (intervention area) is about £397.59.

Mind you AB Internet could really do with improving their website because at present they do a poor job of showing what packages are available. But after a bit of digging we were finally able to uncover the relevant “Essential Broadband” packages, which all feature a 12 month contract and claim to have “no monthly usage caps or maximum monthly data allowances.”

Essential Broadband 2Mb. £14.99/month inc vat.
Our entry level broadband service for ‘light’ users. 2Mb download and 2Mb upload speeds and includes a free WiFi router

Essential Broadband 4Mb. £19.99/month inc vat.
Our most popular broadband services. 4Mb download and 4Mb upload speed and includes a free WiFi router

Essential Broadband 10Mb. £29.99/month inc vat.
Particularly good for large families with average demand. 10Mb download and 10Mb upload speeds and includes a free WiFi router

Essential Broadband 25Mb. £34.99/month inc vat.
Intended for frequent and high usage broadband users. 25Mb download and 10Mb upload speeds and includes a free WiFi router

Essential Broadband 50Mb. £39.99/month inc vat.
Designed for the most demanding of broadband users. 50Mb download and 10Mb upload speeds and includes a free WiFi router

However, confusingly, there is a Fair Usage Policy (FUP) that says it will impact those “downloading in excess of 100GB per month and uploading in excess of 50GB per month.” The detail clarifies that “generally, only users who indulge in frequent Peer-to-Peer file sharing, or stream video for extended periods, will be affected by this policy.”

P2P is fair enough, but video streaming too? It’s only the single most popular online activity. Furthermore it’s unclear if their P2P limits also affect Microsoft Windows updates, STEAM, XBox Live, World of Warcraft etc. (they also use P2P technology).

Customers who go over the limit on AB Internet’s package “may notice that your connection speed is reduced, or ‘throttled’” (no information is given about how strict the throttle is). According to the ISP this policy is better because “other [ISPs] restrict users to less than 40GB per month (at which point the user pays more),” even though most of the major fixed line broadband services today are unlimited (capped packages tend to be optional).

However if you’re stuck on a sub-2Mbps BT line then AB Internet’s service will be most welcome indeed, restrictive or not.

Leave a Comment
8 Responses
  1. Avatar Patrick Cosgrove

    I wonder what the proportion of fixed line is.

    • I suspect what they mean by that is just the wireless network being fed by a new fixed line connection, such as a fibre optic backhaul.

    • Avatar Patrick Cosgrove

      Mark, yes, I’ve now read that they describe the provision as upscalable to fibre if there’s a business case, which is positive.

    • The BDUK framework tends to require that Wireless ISPs make a long-term commitment to adopt fibre broadband, but there’s always the caveat of only being able to do that once the economic case is made. I can’t see many wireless ISPs laying fibre optic connections to homes, but you never know.

  2. Avatar Craski

    This has the makings of a pretty decent solution but data allowances / fair usage policy are potentially a problem for some.

    Data usage in our house has more than tripled from 125GB/Month to well over 400GB since getting a superfast (some of the time) FTTC connection. Increase is mostly due to more regular usage of Netflix & Amazon Prime.

    There is almost no point in having a good fast connection if you can bust your whole months data limit in a few hours.

  3. Avatar Peter Knapp

    £847k. Really??

  4. Avatar Phil Tilley

    I have been a subscriber on the initial pilot for AB in Monmouthshire and am chairman of the LLandenny High Speed Internet group which we formed to get more than 512K per home. It has been a very interesting 3 year program. We have around 40 homes connected and on average are getting between 4 and 10Mb/s. Obviously as a wireless Broadband solution there have been technical challenges but more surprisingly has been the lack of support processes which were initially in place. Installation, billing and support have all been rather hit and miss and frequently on a best endeavours basis. All subscribers put up with this as it is better than any other alternatives. I am sure that things will improve for new subscribers as the scale will hopefully lead to more investment in back office systems. In terms of the FUP there have been a few emails to subscribers who have exceeded limits and in most cases this has been done innocently and lead to an investigation to identify why the limit was exceeded. On this point AB have generally been very programmatic and reasonable.

  5. Avatar Bob

    How do people find ABinternet in general? Any better or worse than most other ISPs?


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