ABC – Can you apply?

Access Broadband Cymru (ABC) is Welsh Government (WG) scheme designed to help those who suffer from poor Broadband.

The Government’s original Universal Service Commitment (USC) was to ensure that everyone could access Broadband speeds of 2Mbps by 2012, however Ofcom recently reported that 12% of Wales (circa 150,000 premises) failed to receive these speeds.

So if you’re in a post code area not scheduled to covered by the WG/BT ‘Superfast Cymru’ (super fast network) programme then you can apply for a ABC grant here. But be aware there are some grey areas.

Ofcom report that two thirds of the slow speeds recorded are apparently in areas where super fast networks exist, so you may not be able to apply for ABC since you should be covered under ‘Superfast Cymru’.  It is worth noting your options for alternative providers are limited since most Internet Service Providers use BT’s infrastructure.

Furthermore, if you are in an area not yet covered by ‘Superfast Cymru’ project (as outlined in percentage terms below) you still may not be able to apply for ABC until the Superfast Cymru project is complete in March 2016.

We appreciate the ‘commercial confidentiality’ around ‘Superfast Cymru’ and the change of heart by Rt Hon Maria Miller (DCMS) to make the Superfast postcode level data available.  We are also bemused at how some alternative providers to BT have cashed in a small fortune by means of  the WG Broadband Support Scheme onto to provide poor service to already disadvantaged customers, as seen here.

Nevertheless we still suggest that if  you suffer from Broadband speeds of less than 2Mpbs then apply for the ABC here.

If you’d like to discuss any of the issues raised above then please drop us a line or to see the Ofcom report in full click here.

BT Wholesale quotes Broadband speeds up to 50 meters

Broadband ‘Up to’ speeds have long been a source of frustration for customers, service providers and a headache for the regulator Ofcom.

Superfast Broadband delivered by BT’s  ‘Fibre to the Cabinet’ (FTTC) is not only is subject to ‘network congestion’ and ‘traffic management’ but also the length of the copper line to your premises as illustrated below.

Following recent complaints from Service Providers, BT Wholesale now state that “Speed estimates assume an average local line length of 50 metres, however this is an average and local line length can sometimes be up to 1km“.

According to ISP Review, data collected by Think Broadband (TB) estimates that 90% of the UK cabinet-to-premise line lengths are under 1km (therefore 10% are above). Using test data from BTInfinity customers, TB suggest an average (mean) length of 450m, with a median of 550m. (Although ISP review warn that ‘this is not an exact science’).

So, as more users upgrade to ‘Superfast’ Broadband,  if you are any distance from your BT cabinet (perhaps 50 meters or more) remember that the speed your Service Provider may quote you, sadly may not turn out to be what you get.