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Breakdown of the Phase 2 Wales Superfast Broadband Coverage Plan

Tuesday, Feb 5th, 2019 (9:37 am) - Score 7,728

The Welsh Government has quietly released some additional coverage data on the scale of their Phase 2 broadband roll-out contract with BT (Openreach), which is expected to provide 26,000 premises with access to “fast reliable broadband” (mostly ultrafast FTTP) by March 2021 at a cost of nearly £22.5m.

At present almost 95% of premises in Wales should be able to access a 30Mbps+ capable “superfast broadband” connection (93%+ if using Ofcom’s late 2018 figure), although a lot of this has been delivered by commercial projects. By comparison Phase 1 (completed) of the publicly funded Superfast Cymru scheme was aimed at areas where commercial investment alone would have found too difficult or expensive to reach.

More recently the WG has also signed several new contracts with BT for a new Phase 2 scheme (here and here), which will predominantly be deploying Openreach’s Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology into the final 5% or so of poorly served remote rural areas.

The Phase 2 contracts agreed so far were split into three regional LOTS in order to better represent the different areas of Wales.

LOT 1 – North West Wales
Areas: Ceredigion; Conwy; Denbighshire; Gwynedd; Isle of Anglesey
Intervention Area of 23,355 NGA white premises [revised] has been identified with an additional 27,590 premises potentially available pending further info.
Contracted Supplier: BT (£6,583,064 – 5,740 premises out of 23,355)

LOT 2 – East Wales
Areas: Cardiff; Flintshire; Monmouthshire; Newport; Powys; Vale of Glamorgan; Wrexham
Intervention Area of 32,356 NGA white premises has been identified with an additional 19,689 premises potentially available pending further info.
Contracted Supplier: BT (£9,256,012 – 10,098 premises out of 32,356)

LOT 3 – South West Wales
Areas: Blaenau Gwent; Bridgend; Caerphilly; Carmarthenshire; Merthyr Tydfil; Neath Port Talbot; Pembrokeshire; Rhondda Cynon Taf; Swansea; Torfaen
Intervention Area of 37,818 NGA white premises has been identified with an additional 15,900 premises potentially available pending further info.
Contracted Supplier: BT (£6,740,426 – 10,175 premises out of 37,818)

Since then Russell George AM has been trying to extract more information about the Phase 2 roll-out from the WG. For example, he recently called on the WG (here) to “publish details for each constituency, which state the number of white premises, indicating whether they include or exclude premises in Phase 2; the total number of premises that are included in Phase 2; and the number of premises classed as ‘Under Review.’

In response the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters AM, is understood to have said that the WG doesn’t hold details of premises by constituency. However Lee did release a list of premises by local authority that are to be included Phase 2, as well as the list of “white premises” (i.e. those eligible for public intervention) by local authority and those currently still “under review.”

At the time of writing the response doesn’t appear to have been uploaded into the public domain (yet) but nevertheless it has leaked into our inbox. One of our readers, Steve, has also been kind enough to combine the local authority breakdown with existing coverage data from Thinkbroadband’s independent database. We hope our readers will find the result to be useful.

Local Authority Current Superfast Coverage % Phase 1 30Mbps (passed) Phase 2 LOT 1, 2, 3 Remaining ‘White’ Premises Remaining ‘Under Review’ Premises
Ceredigion 79.3 29579 1077 4756 7112
Conwy 93.1 51637 1145 2628 2595
Denbighshire 91.1 26844 760 2846 9139
Gwynedd 88.3 56785 2141 5104 5217
Isle of Anglesey 92.3 32777 617 2281 3527
Cardiff 98.7 8248 1157 756 279
Flintshire 95.2 29448 2050 2184 3620
Monmouthshire 87.1 18709 1581 4274 2211
Newport 97.4 13097 269 1097 1027
Powys 80.6 51420 1410 10929 7031
Vale of Glamorgan 96.6 16337 976 1379 2348
Wrexham 95.8 29072 2649 1628 3173
Blaenau Gwent 98.1 33361 0 1173 99
Bridgend 98.0 20866 1386 1489 846
Caerphilly 97.9 29299 2970 1024 1191
Carmarthenshire 87.0 58525 973 9443 6947
Merthyr Tydfil 98.0 27209 481 444 375
Neath Port Talbot 97.9 25527 638 1199 599
Pembrokeshire 87.9 58936 375 8179 3418
Rhondda Cynon Taf 98.5 52479 1592 2609 1057
Swansea 98.4 26270 739 1505 1020
Torfaen 97.1 20804 1021 578 348

Take note that there’s a small discrepancy in the numbers because we haven’t included some tiny patches where the Phase 2 deployment will creep over into the borders of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, although this is so small as to be statistically insignificant. The above data is also tentative and still subject to change.

At this point we aren’t going to write another detailed update on the Phase 2 contracts as that would be to replicate points that have already been made before. Nevertheless it is worth noting that the 26K premises confirmed for Phase 2 remains well below the c.88,000 premises that the WG had hoped to reach. Likewise the public cost of £22.5m is only around a third of the £62m that was previously confirmed for Phase 2.

Clearly there’s a lot of money left over for a future community funding pot and extended voucher schemes, although we’re still waiting hear more details about how the WG will use this.

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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23 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Mike Kiely says:

    Sorry to be picky, ‘most delivered by commercial investment’ is not true in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland.
    Subsidies cover some 3,200 cabinets in Wales, BT’s commercial investment is c1650 cabinets and less than 50% of Welsh premises. I think subsidies have also paid for some 52,000 FTTP in Wales.
    Interesting to see why more properties were not contracted or why some demand led aggregation was not included using a more fully productising FoD.
    The 4g wireless proposals around the B-USO could well undermine the ambition for full fibre in rural areas.

    1. Avatar photo Joe says:

      And you have a link for that

    2. Avatar photo NGA for all says:

      Data compiled off Codelook by exchange, Table 11, p.38 of this effort needs updating from 2017 but data not being questioned, but neither has it been acted upon. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/105249/Vodafone-annex-2.pdf

    3. Avatar photo Joe says:

      Suggest data is partly right then (Scotland is just majority commercial)

      4g is better solution in rural than urban as congestion is less of an issue.

    4. Avatar photo NGA for all says:

      Scotland has changed in the last year with subsidies paying for 4.5k v 3.5k plus FTTP. Scottish intervention area will inflate the need to in-fill BT’s commercial footprint. Your comments on 4G could be correct, if so then 02, could as the 4G coverage obligation holder be designated as B-USO provider.

      I am sure that decision should be made without a thorough and complete understanding of the BDUK programme, underspends, monies owed and deferrals. The call for the B-USO was done with no knowledge of the monies owed.

      There is I think the opportunity to complete another 600-700k FTTP deep in rural should the appetite be there to do so.

    5. Avatar photo Jim Weir says:

      @Mike O2 will not be designated a USP nor have they engaged to do so, nor can they be forced or obligated to o so. They have neither the product nor the infrastructure to be considered.

      There are still aspects of the BT/EE 4G option to be concluded by Ofcom – that will be the primary driver of what the USO is aimed at and can deliver (ie will 450k properties be removed from USO scope)

    6. Avatar photo NGA for all says:

      Jim, I think that is a problem. Why remove 450k now before BDUK funds are exhausted and clawback reinvested. Any interim fix becomes a barrier to full fibre, something BT makes clear – no overbuilding. BT’s reluctance to fully productise FoD to address the known limitations of VDSL

      Wireless at the edge is perfectly sensible but only when fully informed. The B_USO process has not been fully informed of BDUK’s progress and potential.

      Ig 4G is at the edge then any Licensed operator can play a part of they choose. They have not had the opportunity to take part as this is presented as a replacement for fixed lines by a fixed line operator. It is worth discussing so full fibre cab be stretched as far as possible.

    7. Avatar photo NGA for all says:

      Jim, would you support a 36 month clause as opposed to a 12 month clause in the B-USO order so BT work would be completed? What would be wrong with that? It would not stop the wireless offer where there was no appetite to finish the work, but it would allow the upside to be delivered.

    8. Avatar photo Jim Weir says:


      No I would not support 36month framing on the USO. That’s absurd. People are waiting now 7 have waited long enough.

      Providing the option of 4G outside of the USO works – its not popular as there are downsides (data caps but that is fluid) and the fringe installer network isn’t keen as it requires no subsidy (£99 for an antenna installed is not a barrier to entry, OR line install is similar, as are connection charges for FTTP from AltNets)

      Yes O2 can jump in if they wish, just as Three have, but that is outside the USO.

      The USO and 4G service doesnt prevent any body building FTTP in future either as commercial or as publicly funded… we’ve discussed this before, your reading of the text is incorrect & irrational. 4G coverage does not restrict another operator or Openreach from overbuilding 4G served properties.

    9. Avatar photo NGA for all says:

      Jim, not according to Ofcom and not according to BT’s submission. It does not prevent but does act as a barrier in places any barrier acts as a block.

    10. Avatar photo NGA for all says:

      Jim, Explain, apart from those wishing to install fixed wireless dishes, what difference does it make in the context of the B-USO objectives if the option exists for BDUK full fibre related work to be a preferred option for longer than 12 months?

    11. Avatar photo Jim Weir says:


      You are wrong – it does not block or restrict at all nor are BT or Ofcom claiming / stating that – I will dig out the details and follow up, but you’re reading it incorrectly.

      If the USO was changed from 12 months to longer (either for delivery of USO connection or availability of a BDUK funded or Commercially funded build) you are forcing those who have already waited the longest, to wait even longer. You also hit the issue of what if those BDUK or Commercial builds are delayed (which is really the case) there is no fallback position other than more waits.

      The USO is a safety net, not a mass build of new infrastructure – it has been designed like that from day 1 and rightly so. Long term infrastructure build needs planning, but those waiting on sub 10Mbps need a fast interim service – the USO is that regardless of whether it is USO with 4G cover excluded or USO with 4G as an approved connection.

      Historically those with a wireless service rapidly switch to fixed line service as soon as its available to them at an equivalent or better price & service.

  2. Avatar photo Mike Kiely says:

    Note TB report 1.424m premises in Wales this January, the intervention area above is now 873k. OR system size for Wales will be less than 1.4m closer to 1.2m, so the growing intervention area will now include <30Mbps from BT's commercial roll out.
    The need to continue seeking evidence for BT capital participation in these projects should be obvious, but no public reports to date after 6 years of work.

    1. Avatar photo TheFacts says:

      @NGA – what about gain share and clawback?

    2. Avatar photo NGA for all says:

      @The Facts – it will be wonderful once it is converted into coverage and fully reported upon. Until then most, and this includes much of BT’s capital contribution has not yet been applied to the problem as originally stated.

      The challenge is one of unacknowledged success at two levels. Much much lower costs than originally gamed, and the higher take-up than modelled.

    3. Avatar photo TheFacts says:

      @NGA – why aren’t BDUK and the LAs sorting this out, or are they and have not told you?

    4. Avatar photo NGA for all says:

      TheFacts ..the upside is huge and possibly embarrassing. My opinion. The mis-use of commercial confidentiality agreements, where Machiavelli (best=emulating the worst behaviour) trumps the eighth commandment, means the princes are looking and pointing at one another rather than exploring the upside. BT original mis-representations including the written evidence to Parliament in 2016 is part of this.

      UK rural economy, Openreach(plus the others) engineering and shareholders may lose long term.

  3. Avatar photo AdamH says:

    I’m in the Lot 1 (Ceredigion) area of SuperFast Cymru Phase 2 – and according to the Welsh Assembly Government’s broadband postcode & address checker(see: https://beta.gov.wales/go-superfast/what-are-my-options), I (and many others I know) won’t be included in this Phase 2 upgrade.

    I’m in a small hamlet on a long EO (Exchange Only) line with speeds of 2Mbps or less – have been waiting for FTTC or FTTP for years (working from home), but have now completely given up all hope that we will ever be upgraded in this area – so am in the process of trying out 4G links (via Three & EE) – which are now our only option.

    1. Avatar photo NGA for all says:

      Hmm nursing a similar case for a friend in Powys where Welsh Gob gave go-ahead, (because of all the money available) and BT then deciding to treat it differently, 1.5km extension (proposed underground) for £300k when poles are available for overhead.

      It appears BT can treat the Capital Deferral owed as if it is capital expended for cost recovery purposes. Even if it is handed back to be used for something else, BT get to gain a return on funds which are not used for extending the network.

      I have raised this in the response to the B-USO. We need more transparency on BT’s capital contributions in Wales. Contractually they were the lowest observed <£30 a premise passed if paid, but these ought to be adjusted given FTTC is now a regulated product.

    2. Avatar photo Andy Cox says:

      I feel your pain on that one. We are also Lot 1 Ceredigion on a long EO line and excluded from the phase 2 plan. On a good day I get 3Mbps at present, but that’s where the good news stops…

      We are in a deep valley and therefore blocked from terrestrial TV and Satellite TV, we are also a not spot for all of the cellular providers. So everything we consume at present is via the existing DSL.

      Have made noise with politicians in the past, but nobody is really interested. Hard to see where we go next really. I can well imagine that 5 years down the line we will still be in the same position…

  4. Avatar photo Clive Price says:

    Does anyone know if the checker is now complete, or if they are still adding properties to it? i.e. if your property is not listed now you are not included in phase 2.

  5. Avatar photo Clive Atkinson says:

    The checker data provided to date for Lot 2 makes for interesting (if disappointing) reading. Our village, Rockfield in Monmouthshire is included but less than half of the houses are on the list. So according to the checker, fibre will be run past my house (and others) to provide service to my next door neighbour 50 feet away. We even have semi detached houses in the village where one side is on the list and the adjoining house isn’t.

    Is this likely to change when Openreach start to roll out the service?

  6. Avatar photo Keith Knight says:

    I am in Coychurch, near Bridgend. I have an old contract with a 25mbps MGALS that is barely reaching 20mbps and is not stable. Plusnet have done their best. Openreach have been out 5 times since January 2019. The downstream has deteriorated from 33.6mbps 18 months ago due to copper and aluminium degradation. There is no planned upgrade to infrastructure. Bandwidth reduces and price escalates. BT now say there is nothing more they can do. OFCOM are unhelpful. The ombudsman can only investigate issues around complaints procedure. When can I have a 30mbps service OR G.FAST OR FTTP. I am on cab 4 (DSLAM) out of Pencoed Exchange.

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