Tag Archives: Broadband in Wales

Wales and the EU (The Broadband Picture)

The EU is making steady progress towards its Digital Agenda target; that everyone should have 30Mbps Broadband by 2020.

Wales has roughly aligned its Superfast Cymru programme across the EU Digital Agenda which aims to provide; “basic” (0.5-4Mbps) and “competitively-priced” broadband internet access to all Europeans by 2013 and for everybody within the EU to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps+ by 2020 (with 50% or more households subscribing to 100Mbps+).

The map above (which is based on 2012 data) is an interesting one for Wales, since vast sways of rural Wales score a 0%.  Whilst ‘Superfast Cymru’ which uses BT’s Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) is focused on the main population centres of the South and North Wales and potentially overbuilding existing State Aided projects, the beautiful counties of Pembrokeshire, Powys and Ceredigion which are home thousands businesses and dominated by agriculture and tourism, are set to lag the rest of the country.

New technologies set to extend the reach of FTTC bode well for Wales in the long term. That said there is a real challenge in the short term to medium term (between now and 2020), for those residents and businesses in Rural Wales to ensure they not isolated from the BT Network and also enjoy a usable; fast, reliable competitively priced Broadband.

*Note: To enlarge the graphic Click on the map

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.