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Pembrokeshire Council Adds More Areas to Rural Full Fibre Rollout UPDATE

Sunday, March 21st, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 2,256
broadway_partners_ftth_rural_village

The Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) in Wales has issued an update on their gigabit-capable broadband rollout project for rural areas, which confirms the Phase 2 and Phase 3 deployment areas where Broadway Partners (ISP Broadway Broadband) and Voneus will be extending their network coverage.

The local authority has previously stated that 88% of premises in Pembrokeshire can access a fixed “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) network, but this drops to just 6.6% for “ultrafast” (100Mbps+) speeds and 2.5% aren’t even able to get 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. Additional funding has also come from the UK government’s gigabit voucher scheme.

As part of the DCP, the council selected Broadway Partners to kick off a new pilot last year by deploying a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network across several areas (here) and the first of those locations started to go live in January 2021 (here). Now the next Phase 2 and 3 areas have been confirmed and a second supplier, Voneus (via Dyfed IT), has also joined the programme.

Phase 2 Areas
Nevern (Broadway Partners)
Wiston & Slebech (Broadway Partners)
Maenclochog & Llanycefn (Dyfed IT)
Herbrandston (Broadway Partners)

Phase 3 Areas
Cwm Gwaun & Puncheston
Moylegrove
Angle
Tiers Cross
Martletwy & Lawrenny

Sadly, we aren’t given any information about the deployment plan or timescales for these areas, but we do at least get a progress update from the local authority.

Cllr Paul Miller, Pembrokeshire Council Member for the Economy, said:

“It’s great to see the Ultrafast Broadband Project moving forward all the time.

So far nearly 5,000 Pembrokeshire properties now have suppliers on board and are on the road to enjoying ultrafast fibre as part of the Pilot and Phase 2 areas. This will rise to nearly 8,000 premises passed as the project rolls out to Phase 3, equal to 10% of Pembrokeshire’s 80k properties.

Pembrokeshire will never be the best connected county by car or rail, but we have a real opportunity to make it one of the best connected digitally. It cannot be stated enough that this project is for everyone that wants to be involved. Please express your interest and help keep the project driving forward.”

Residents in the Phase 3 areas are now being asked to express an interest at https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/broadband . Credits to Steve for spotting the development.

UPDATE 22nd March 2021

We’ve managed to get our hands on a key slide, which shows the cost differences between several rival FTTP deployment quotes from Broadway Partners, Dyfed IT and Openreach in the Maenclochog & Llanycefn community (this contract was ultimately secured by Dyfed IT / Voneus). The slide was presented to the community by the council, to help illustrate the options they had, but it also highlights the wide gulf in quotes.

The catch is that we don’t get a rundown of the specific differences between the different proposed approaches, which makes it difficult to assess the pros and cons of each on a true like-for-like basis. Equally, success can only really be judged after project completion, but this is still a useful illustration of why communities seeking such solutions shouldn’t restrict themselves to consideration of a single potential supplier.

Pembrokeshire_rural_fttp_build_costs_compared

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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.
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