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480 Rural Monmouthshire Premises Set for 30Mbps Broadband Boost UPDATE

Monday, September 16th, 2019 (10:52 am) - Score 708
wales uk development

The Monmouthshire County Council in Wales has posted a new contract notice, which proposes to help fund a new 30Mbps+ capable superfast broadband ISP network that would serve around 480 premises in rural parts of the county (focusing on areas around the towns of Abergavenny, Pontypool and Usk – north of Newport).

According to the notice (credits to Steve for spotting), the Sir Fynwy council want to see a new point-to-point (Line of Sight) network being installed to utilise either the existing backhaul from the Superfast Cymru infill scheme with Openreach (BT) or any other UK commercial fibre provider. This network will feed branch networks to the identified areas.

The supplier must also establish a “robust backhaul connection” through at least TWO separate connection points, which it states “must be capable of providing sufficient bandwidth to maintain NGA speeds [30Mbps+] and avoid contention for all premises.

The total grant funding available for all this is £155,000, which works out as about £322 per premises (too low for FTTP and even most FTTC in those areas) and this, combined with the description above, points the finger toward a Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network of some sort.

MCC Statement

An application was made to Measure 7.3 of the Rural Communities Development Fund (RCDF) that was approved for grant funding. The scheme details can be found within the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 website.

This grant is available to support communities in Wales where broadband deployment has been unsuccessful through other Welsh Government interventions. The funding application covers 480 premises in Monmouthshire, identified as ‘White Premises’ by Welsh Government. The total grant available amounts to £155,000.00 which is the maximum total cost of the new infrastructure.

The estimated award date for this contract is said to be 27th September 2019, although sadly we couldn’t find any further details on this specific project when looking back through several months of recent council meeting documents.

However an update from May 2019 (here) did confirm that 30Mbps+ broadband services cover 87.4% of premises in the county, which means that “there are still 12.6% of our 44,000 premises that have limited or not access to broadband, equating to approximately 6-8,000 premises, depending upon the outcome of additional reviews that are also currently taking place.”

We wouldn’t be surprised if an operator like Broadway Partners (Broadway Broadband), which already has some deployments in the county, picked up a contract like this as part of their efforts to rollout long-range TV White Space (TVWS) technology to serve rural areas with superfast broadband (examples here and here). Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

UPDATE 26th Sept 2019

A small update on the contract notice states, “We have received a number of completed tenders, with the selection panel meeting on the 26th September 2019.” Apparently a final decision is expected to be made by 2nd October 2019.

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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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2 Responses
  1. Avatar Still hoping in Wales

    Yes a tender designed for Broadway. An old school Superfast type tender. Not enough money for FTTP otherwise I’m sure Openreach would be all over this.

    Still I suppose wireless is better than old copper.

  2. Avatar Neil

    It was listed on the Sell2Wales portal for a few weeks. Looks like there is plenty of interest from the questions.

    You can register and get updates.

    I don’t think the council publish contracts on their own websites. They might after Brexit of course!

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