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TVWS Tech Brings 30Mb Broadband to 400 Monmouthshire Homes UPDATE

Monday, August 13th, 2018 (11:09 am) - Score 2,292

Some 400 homes residing within 6 kilometres of Llantilio Crossenny in Monmouthshire (Wales, UK) will be the next to benefit from fixed wireless superfast broadband via Broadway Partners, which will use the new long range TV White Space (TVWS) technology to deliver their internet connectivity.

As a quick recap, TVWS technology is designed to harness the gaps that exist between radio spectrum in the Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV) bands, which operate between about 470-790MHz (note: this will change a bit once the 700MHz band is freed up for use by future 5G mobile services).

Normally those spectrum gaps would be intended to help minimise the risk of interference between channels but TVWS makes use of a new dynamic spectrum management system (database), which means that the gaps can also now be used to deliver data (i.e. this has to account for any changes in the TV channel / spectrum assignments).

So far the company has already connected around 280 rural households and businesses to broadband services using TVWS on the Isle of Arran and in the Loch Ness and Loch Leven areas of Scotland (here). Last year they also built a very small pilot network around the parish of Llanarth in Monmouthshire (here) and it now looks like this work is about to get a big coverage extension.

white space tv wireless database

Broadway Partners is delivering the project after being awarded a contract by Monmouthshire County Council, which is being supported by public funding from the Rural Community Development Fund. The RCDF is part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities’ Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. Sadly they don’t say how much invested has been committed.

Michael Armitage, Chairman and CEO of Broadway Partners, said:

“The technology we have developed is now proven through successful projects in Scotland and it could be applied to a huge number of remote Welsh communities where people are denied access to fast broadband.

We are delighted to be rolling it out in Monmouthshire where some 400 households will have the option for the first time to be able to enjoy the same kind of access that most of us take for granted.

Our technology could be transformational for tens of thousands of remote households and businesses in rural Wales.

We are pleased to have been awarded this contract from Monmouthshire County Council to deliver superfast broadband to their residents. Our existing customers tell us that our broadband has transformed their lives and their businesses, allowing them to enjoy services such as iPlayer, Netflix and Skype, to post videos to YouTube, to keep up with social media, to do homework, to keep in constant contact with customers and suppliers – in short, to do all those things that most people take for granted.”

Apparently the new TVWS network will get its capacity from Openreach’s (BT) fibre optic network, which is then distributed out using a mix of TVWS and 5GHz radio technology. Residential packages offer average download speeds of 30Mbps (5Mbps upload) and unlimited usage from £32.50 a month on a 24 month contract to £35 on a 12 month contract.

The cost of installation is subject to survey, although generally you can either pay £240 (one-off) upfront or pay £120 upfront and then pay off the rest at £12 per month for 10 months. However many of the premises covered will be in broadband slow spots, which means that they should be able to get this for free by harnessing the Welsh Government’s Access Broadband Cymru subsidy scheme.

It’s worth noting that the average speed of this new network may be 30Mbps, although the underlying technology is able to aggregate three radio channels (24MHz of spectrum) in order to potentially reach a peak of 50Mbps. We’ve also heard talk of this being pushed up to 100Mbps (“ultrafast broadband” territory) in the future but we’ve yet to see that tested in the UK.

The central ISP for all this is now Broadway Broadband.

NOTE: The provider pledges to maintain a Minimum download speed of 15Mbps 95% of the time and a minimum upload speed of 2.5Mbps 95% of time.

UPDATE 12:10pm

As far as the Rural Development Programme (RDP) grant is concerned, we understand that the total project value is £90,000, with the RDP granting £72,000 and Broadway matching this grant with £18,000 (20%). Broadway has also contributed an additional £10,000 to the project outside of the grant from the RDP.

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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
13 Responses
  1. wireless pacman says:

    That would be “unlimited” usage with their fingers crossed! 🙂

  2. Nobroadband says:

    Do you still need line of sight for this to work?

    1. wirelesspacman says:

      At those low frequencies I would say “no, but…” with the “but” being that reflected signals (for non line of sight) will be a lot weaker than direct signals. Also, at those frequencies, directional aerials will be much larger – especially if you want/need a decent gain on them. This will also impact on how much the frequencies can be used/re-used across a given geographic area.

    2. 5G Infinity says:

      Trees won’t help, same effect as with Freeview HD – loss of signal. So yes LoS is best.

  3. EndlessWaves says:

    95% of the time seems like a rather weak guarantee. That allows over an hour below ‘minimum’ speed every day.

    1. Tim says:

      I doubt they would even achieve that. 30Mbps is probably the peak throughput (24Mbps used to be the max so must have got a little faster since I last looked at the specs). Given that this in then shared directly with ALL clients connected to the same transmitter there is no scope for overheads/bursts. So whenever more than one client uses the service at the same time they will affect the speed available to all others. Wireless is directly contended if there is no overhead, no provision of extra bandwidth.

      I used to manage a wireless network and my aim was to always have double or more at the mast to what was being offered to the clients. Without this provision the customers would soon notice slowdowns. And this was back when streaming media was not as popular as it is today.

    2. wireless pacman says:

      Agree Tim, my rule of thumb was *4.

    3. Tim says:

      I like your rule 😉

      Not always easy but yes *2 or more WAS good enough before high take-up of streaming media.

      But this company is 100% contending the wireless link. That is never good! As I see it TVWS offering 30Mbps capacity (per transmitter) should only be offering a 5-15Mbps service to the end user. At peak times this could easily drop to only 2Mbps!

    4. wireless pacman says:

      Lol Tim. I never had such a “before” time. We started back in 2003 – ok, no real streaming but lots of bittorrent etc. Pretty much as soon as we launched, one of our customers (who was also very vocal and supportive of us) “decided” to give his connection a “good test” by setting his computer to download circa 20 movies! Not that he wanted to actually watch them, just wanted to see how long it took!!

  4. Waves WW says:

    What percentage of customers is TVWS and what percentage is 5Ghx FWA. A question that needs to be asked I think

    1. Tim says:

      I don’t know but I’d hazard a guess (going by the picture) that the TVWS “repeaters” are backhauled off the Point-to-Multipoint (PtMP) 5Ghz network that also serves the clients connected to the 5GHz network… Yet more contention reducing the reliability of capacity at the TVWS transmitter. I hope they are setting the priority settings accordingly and installing all clients with -62dB signals or better!

      Having worked for a wireless ISP I know first hand that it’s a pile them high and take their money business. Think of TalkTalk back in the day (they are not so bad now) but they used to design their network to have 64Kbps per user in the days of 8Mbps ADSL!

      Wireless is nothing compared to Gbit fibre, take B4RN for example. They install dual fibres to each house, use only one of the fibres to deliver 1Gbit symmetric, leaving one spare for “future use” (another Gbps/10Gbps/RFoG/3rd party XGPON… who knows but it’s there ready!). At the cabinet they have 2x 10Gbit diverse fibre backhaul links. And they can easily add more as needed either liting up another fibre or using DWDM to add multiple 10Gbit channels over a single fibre! The capacity is almost endless and once the fibre is in the ground there is little cost in adding capacity, it’s just a couple of SFP+’s and some more peering capacity at the local internet exchange.

      Sorry when off on one there…

  5. Paul M says:

    Why don’t they use tech from CBNL?
    Then they can take advantage of spectrum which isn’t going to clash, and almost certainly get better performance

  6. Dave Macky says:

    they also referenced a big step forward with a 50mb trial of TVWS this week, but said last year exactly the same, so how is this a big step forward? https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/11/tv-white-space-50mbps-wireless-broadband-tech-cover-loch-ness.html

    looks like just take the same story and rotate the location

    same from may 2017


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