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Rural Full Fibre Broadband Pilots Start Rollout in Pembrokeshire UPDATE

Friday, January 22nd, 2021 (1:42 pm) - Score 1,656
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The Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) in Wales has today announced that the first of many gigabit-capable broadband cabinets have just been install in several rural communities, which stem from four new pilot schemes with Broadway Partners (UK ISP Broadway Broadband).

According to the local authority, some 88% of premises in Pembrokeshire can already access a fixed “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) network, but this drops to 6.6% for “ultrafast” (100Mbps+) speeds and 2.5% are said to be “still stuck with less than 2Mbps.” Back in June 2020 the Welsh Government (WG) also noted that 6,366 premises in the county were not currently planned to benefit from any future upgrades (here).

In response the PCC committed £2m of its own funding to help support their new Digital Connectivity Programme (DCP). On top of that they also secured £4m of public funding from the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme in order to improve connectivity to public sector sites.

Last year, as part of the DCP side of things, the council announced that Broadway Partners had been selected to deploy a new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network across four pilot projects (here). The pilots were also expected to “draw down a further £810,000 of UK and Welsh Government Funding” (mostly from the Gigabit Voucher scheme).

The good news is that the first “full fibre” cabinets have now been installed at St Ishmaels and Woodstock Cross, which will be used to serve the surrounding project areas of Dale, New Moat and Ambleston (Crymych will follow shortly).

Cllr Paul Miller, Pembrokeshire County Council, said:

“While broadband provision isn’t technically an issue for local authorities I’ve always been clear that we needed to make it our issue and deliver a solution.

I know we’ll never be the best-connected county in terms of road or rail, but I do believe we can be among the best connected digitally and the economic benefit of achieving that is too compelling to simply leave it to others.

To that end I have committed the authority to delivering gigabit-capable fibre across the whole of the county by 2023 and the installation of these cabinets is the first, on the ground, step in making that a reality for our communities.

Residents in our pilot areas can look forward to being connected to gigabit speeds over the coming months and I have recently approved the widening of the programme beyond the pilots and in to full delivery.

Our recruitment of four new Broadband Engagement Officers has been followed by the selection of the next six project areas, underlining that despite the difficulties of Covid we are committed to this project and to delivering ultrafast broadband to Pembrokeshire.

We are committed to connecting every home in each project area. That means anyone who wants ultrafast broadband – regardless of where you live. Down a long lane? In a remote village? It doesn’t matter, anyone who wants to be connected will be.”

The next project areas, after the aforementioned ones, will extend FTTP coverage to include the communities of Herbrandston, Wiston, Slebech, Maenclochog, Llanycefn and Nevern.

Customers of this service typically pay from just £29.99 per month for the entry-level unlimited 50Mbps package with a free installation, which rises to £39.99 if you want their 300Mbps plan. The top 1000Mbps package doesn’t have a price but was previously £99.99.

All of this should help to support Broadway’s aim of extending their “gigabit-capable … fibre” network to cover 500,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2022 (here).

UPDATE 3rd March 2021

For some reason the project seems to be releasing future rollout details via different social media channels (here and here), rather than on their main web page, but as a result of that (and reader feedback) we’ve been able to identify some of the next locations to benefit in their future Phase 3 deployment – Cwm Gwaun, Puncheston, Hundleton and Maiden Wells. More may follow.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Aled says:

    It almost sounds too good to be true!

    Glad to see Pembroke seeing some positive direction on this. Curious to know what the population is and what is the cost?

    I don’t live there, but it’s my summer happy place.

  2. FTTP4WALES says:

    I’m only live a county or so away, over in Carmarthenshire. It is brilliant news to hear FTTP is actually becoming a reality in rural parts of Wales or atleast outside of the M4 corridor and in other parts of Wales outside of Cardiff and Newport.
    I hope this “outside-in” approach to Gigabit capable FTTP rollout will be a success and a lot more to follow.
    Well done Broadway. Perhaps you may consider Llanelli for some FTTP treatment in the near future.

  3. davethegooner says:

    I genuinely hope they have targeted areas that don’t even have fttc first… Our village only have 1Mbps copper connections. We can’t get a date from anyone, do you spend a fortune buying a dish to go with Elon Musk when it’s available or just wait forever and a day hoping? All Pembrokeshire County Council will say is “it’s up to you…” It’s the uncertainty that’s the most frustrating part.

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