151 Towns and villages across Wales

Today BT announced a further 151 towns and villages who are set to benefit from the joint project between BT and the Welsh Government. They are: (According to Local Authority area)

Caerphilly: Cross Keys, Machen, Nelson, Rhymney, Risca, Senghenydd, Ynysddu

Cardiff: Radyr

Carmarthenshire: Amman Valley, Carmarthen, Hebron, Llanbydder, Maesycrugiau, Pencader, Pumpsaint, Upper Cwmtwrch, Velindre

Conwy: Cerrigydrudion, Llanfairfechan

Ceredigion: Aberaeron, Aeron, Aberporth, Borth, Bow Street, Bronant, Capel Bangor, Cardigan, Crosswood, Cwrtnewydd, Lampeter, Llanarth, Llandyssul, Llangybi, Llanilar, Llanon, Llechryd, Nebo, Newcastle Emlyn, New Quay, Ponterwyd, Ponthrydygroes, Pontrhydfendigaid, Pontshaen, Talybont, Tregaron

Denbighshire: Bodfari, Bryneglwys, Cyffylliog, Denbigh, Dyserth, Glyndwr, Llanarmon-yn-Ial, Llandegla, Llandrillo, Llandyrnog, Llangollen, Llanynys, Maerdy, Rhuddlan, Ruthin, St Asaph, Trefnant

Flintshire: Caerwys, Halkyn, Kinnerton, Llanferres, Gwynedd: Bontddu, Ganllwyd, Tudweiliog

Neath Port Talbot: Crynant, Cymmer, Glantawe, Glynneath, Pontardawe, Resolven, Seven Sisters, Skewen

Monmouthshire: Gilwern, , Magor, Nantyderry, Tredunnock Usk

Pembrokeshire: Boncath, Crosswell, Crymych, Dinas Cross, Llwyndrain, Moylegrove, Newport

Powys: Abercrave, Abermule, Berriew, Brecon, Builth Wells, Bwlch, Caersws, Carno, Castle Caereinion, Church Stoke, Crickhowell, Erwood, Forden, Guilsfield, Hay-on-Wye, Hundred House, Gladestry, Kerry, Kington, Knighton, Llanbrynmair, Llanfair Caereinion, Llandrindod Wells, Llangamarch Wells, Llangurig, Llanfrynach, Llanfyllin, Llangorse, Llanidloes, Llanymynech, Newtown, Llanrhaeadr, Llansantffraid, Llanwrtyd Wells, Merthyr Cynog, Montgomery, Newbridge-on-Wye, Penybont, New Radnor, Pennant, Presteigne, Rhayader, Sennybridge, Talgarth, Talybont-on-Usk, Trefeglwys, Tregynon, Trewern, Welshpool

Swansea: Llangennith

Torfaen: Blaenavon, Talywain

Wrexham: Bangor-on-Dee, Chirk, Dutton Diffeth, Glyn Ceiriog, Hanmer, Overton-on-Dee, Redbrook Maelor, Rossett, Rhosllanerchrugog, Ruabon

In some areas of the press it is stated that BT expect their roll-out to complete by the end of 2015, however it is our understanding that the roll out completion will be the end of March 2016.

We welcome todays latest roll out news. However we were hoping to see a full roll out schedule to the end of March 2016 to determine who would not be covered by the ‘Superfast Cymru’ roll out, and who qualify for the Welsh Government ‘Access Broadband Cymru’ Grant (webpage temporarily removed).

So with 480,000 premises potentially having the option to access a fibre based broadband service by the end of Spring 2015, this leaves BT with 100,000+ premises left to announce to complete the project by March 2016.


MIP Deployment in Wales

Arqiva has revealed the above map to show which areas of the UK are set to benefit from Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) and the good news is the first MIP sites are due to ‘go live ‘ by the end of the year.

Back in July the BBC published this map in an article ‘End to mobile phone black spots in Mid Wales’.  In the article Rt Hon Glyn Davies MP for Montgomershire, rightly states “This project will see mobile phone coverage extended to areas of rural Powys where currently none exists,” however the question remains how much of Powys.

As we understand the MIP project in Wales plan has always been been to simply deploy mobile masts along the A470 main trunk route as can be seen here from the Welsh Government website.


Whilst mobile providers are now expecting to beat their original target to make (3G or 4G) services available to “at least” 98% of UK people by the end of 2015 (beaint their original target of 2017 by 2 years). Painting Powys and Ceredigion in red may not be what some politicians had in mind in an election year.



The Rural Broadband Programme – Wales (and the Politics of Broadband)

Broadband is now officially a headline political tool!

As one Welsh politician recently stated, ‘Broadband is right up there with Europe in getting people excited and emotional at the moment.’

Clearly the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) believe there’s political mileage in releasing their report into ‘The Rural Broadband Programme’ today ahead of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this Sunday.

So we aim our passionate stone throwing at service providers or is political hubris the underestimated factor in the Broadband story as we head downstream into 2015?

One of the areas of reserved for criticism in todays PAC report is the DCMS business case, however it can be argued that deploying Broadband (and in particular Rural Broadband) is not about a business case, it is about political idealism and notions about the public good (and of course votes) if managed well.

Arguably efficient management has never been a forte of the Public Sector. Hence we have armies of civil servants conscripting consultants to cover their flanks.  Whilst London carries out countless sorties to jettison management mercenaries over the Severn Bridge to deploy their untested generic data and reap the rewards of public plunder to the hollow anthem of  ‘We’ll keep a Welcome’ repeating in their ears.

So armed with limited of insight, a vague notions of demand and supply and with the heightened stress of prolonged negotiations all mixed up complicating common sense EU State Aid Law, The Welsh Government signed a mouth watering £425M deal with the only provider in town. No wonder PAC highlight the need for improved modeling for future Public Sector negotiations.  And in the meantime what happened to transparent public services?

And now whilst our civil servants put pen to paper to scribe what a good deal this is for Wales, the Welsh publics await to hear of where and when superfast broadband will be served.

‘Where and when’ Superfast Broadband is being roll-out, is going our political news next week, however the bitty political football match with Broadband is going play on for a few years yet.  Oh and yes.. There’s also an election being play out just down the road, which you can follow via online media, if you have the bandwidth to care that is.

Access Broadband Cymru

Access Broadband Cymru (ABC) is the new Broadband Support Scheme designed to help people who will not benefit from the roll-out of ‘SuperFast-Cymru’.

ABC is like its predecessor the ‘Broadband Support Scheme’ (BBSS) in that  Welsh Government offers a grant up to £1000 (inc VAT) to customers who do not receive Broadband download speeds of 2Mpbs.  The scheme will replace the BBSS and will commence on 1st October 2013.

To find out if you’re exchange is scheduled to be upgraded under Superfast-Cymru click here (and don’t forget to scroll down and hover over the exchange area that you’re interested in).  For further FAQ’s relating to Access Broadband Cymru click here.

Whilst Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates highlights that the the Welsh Government ‘want to ensure that all our communities are able to enjoy the benefits of improved connectivity’ it appears that further clarification may still be needed for those who are uncertain if they will benefit from ‘Superfast-Cymru’, even if their exchange is scheduled to be upgraded.  See discussion on ThinkBroadband.com.

As of 1st October we will have access to the exchange upgrade schedule for the whole of Wales.  If your exchange is not listed, then by all means apply for the ABC Grant.  If you’re exchange is scheduled to be upgraded you still might qualify for an ABC grant, so its worth checking on the line checker/post code checker on http://www.superfast-cymru.com/where-and-when before making assumptions.

If you want to chat about this in more detail, please feel free to drop us a line: info@disconnectedwales.com

BT charge for email put on hold

Have changed your email address yet because BT told that they were going to start charging? Lots of people have and google appears to be benefiting.

BT recently notified some customers that that they were going to start charging £1.60 p/month simply to keep their BT email address active.  Someone somewhere has realised the negative PR impact of this and so BT are now back tracking and will be continuing to host their basic email accounts for free for one year.

Fresh communications will be sent out shortly.  In the meantime you can click here for more information.