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ISP Pembs WiFi Builds Own 1Gbps FTTH Broadband in Rural Wales

Thursday, August 16th, 2018 (9:53 am) - Score 3,178

A little known fixed wireless ISP called Pembs WiFi has quietly begun to branch out by building their own 1000Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) “hyperfast broadband” network to cater for several rural villages in north Pembrokeshire (Wales, UK), which has its own layer2 capacity back to data centres in London.

At present the provider is already known to offer ultrafast Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) connectivity speeds of up to 150Mbps (download) to a number of small rural communities around the Welsh county, which typically only costs from £27 per month. But for that you also get a static IP address (+IPv6 /48 subnet) with unlimited usage, while the one-off installation fee is subject to survey and any ABC grants from the Welsh Government.

However this summer the provider decided to try and do what only a few have done before (B4RN, Gigaclear etc.) by setting out to build their very own “full fibre” (FTTH/P) broadband network. One of the first villages to start going live on this new infrastructure is Castlemorris, which is home to roughly 150 people.

ISPreview.co.uk understands that the soft dig work (i.e. cutting through easy soil in rural fields etc.) is also expected to reach several cottages around Penfeidr in the not too distant future. A spokesperson for the ISP has indicated that if all goes well then residents in the larger village of Mathry (population of c.600) could then be reached by the middle of 2019 (a significant amount of digging is required for that).

Sadly the provider’s website is frustratingly light on detail but we understand that the new FTTH service will cost £30 per month (plus £200 for installation), which comes attached to a 12 month contract term, static IP and unlimited usage allowance. As before, the installation fee can potentially be reduced to £0 where an ABC grant is utilised. Well done Pembs WiFi!

pembswifi ftth rural field and cabinet

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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.
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16 Responses
  1. Avatar Remo says:

    I’m assuming that they will also include a static IP address as standard with their FTTH service just like their FWA service.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Correct, plus an IPv6 /48 subnet.

    2. Avatar Nat Morris says:

      Yes, all customers get a public static v4 address, plus a static delegated /48 of v6.

  2. Avatar A_Builder says:

    Great work.

    Shows just what you can do if you put you mind to it and chisel the cost base down.

    Presumably they already have some fibre spine in place to power their masts so they are, for some it, sensibly just blowing more fibre through existing ducts?

    Anyway lots to like: like the nice low price and the fixed IP.

    If it works a few other providers are going to need a few packets of Disprin and a lice cool drink to absorb the meaning of this.

    There is some pretty impressive micro trenching machinery now for laying ducts fast in soft soil.

    1. Avatar Nat Morris says:

      We’ve been digging with a DitchWitch C24X, plus a mini digger. Trencher is fantastically speedy in soft ground.

    2. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @Nat Morris

      Great stuff.

      Agree that kit is great provided no big stones.

      Different story then!

    3. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @Nat Morris

      Why don’t you make a bit of video so people an really see how many meters an hour can be done with that kit in soft ground.

      I’m sure @MJ would oblige?

      Might work to do a bit of debunking as to some of the more fantasy related rural costs I see floating around:)

      Why let awkward facts get in the way!!

  3. Avatar 5G Infinity says:

    Be interested in the maths behind this: 150 people, ~ 75 homes and say GBP250 to 500 per homes passed is max GBP50K – and then the backhaul at say another GB50K to the nearest POP? Does that sound about right?

    1. Avatar James Blessing says:

      Depends on the backhaul distance, but if you are on a competitive route you can get it much lower than that, worst case is OSA FC for Openreach.

  4. Avatar chris conder says:

    Bloody brilliant. People of grit.

    1. Avatar Nat Morris says:

      Thanks Chris! We have got a decent amount done at the weekends and in the evenings after work. A couple of months of good weather has certainly been helpful.

    2. Avatar Brin says:

      Well done
      We direct drlled under our river yesterday, 130 metres, up to 8 metres deep
      Took 8 hours lot of rock. We can now use the crossing Today to blow the 72 fibre 1.2 kilometres to connect another 60+ homes. Ducts already laid( waiting for drilling machine)
      We cannot use trenching mahines, too many stones and rocks
      Well done again
      http://www.myfi.wales

    3. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @Brin

      Superb work.

      There is a lot of excellent civils knowledge being shared here.

      Were you using a steerable mole type drill?

      Would really be worth a thread sharing how you guys have problem solved this.

      Others including the big ISPs might be able to learn from your experience. The answer isn’t always big expensive plant.

      This was what I was getting at when I said on another thread that OR need to get their long tail FTTP costs down and imaginative solutions like yours are a vital part of that mix so we can get proper national coverage at a sensible cost.

  5. Avatar James Blessing says:

    Not this project, but you can build things cheaply… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqQBem7vgpE

  6. Avatar Julia Moffett says:

    Great work guys…. would be really interested in your future plans

  7. Avatar Gadget says:

    Wales does seem to be the place to try innovative solutions -https://www.ispreview.co.uk/…/openreach-aerial-drone-brings-rural-full-fibre -broadband-village-wales.html

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