Broadband in Penrhos

 

If you live in Penrhos and you’re sick of slow broadband, I’d like to hear from you.

We’re more likely to get better broadband if lots of people ask for it, so please do let me know if you’re interested (contact details at the bottom of the page).

Read on to find out what options are available and how the government may fund the installation of new equipment.

For a few years, we were told by the Superfast Cymru website that Penrhos would get superfast fibre broadband in 2016. Fibre broadband is the fastest, most reliable and affordable way to get superfast broadband and if you live near an exchange, you could get up to 76Mb download speeds.

For the lucky people who live near the exchange in Llantilio Crossenny, fibre broadband became a reality quite a while ago.

For Penrhos the story is quite different. Upon checking whether we can get super fast broadband, we are now told that:

“According to data from BT your cabinet is live however, due to distance from the cabinet or other factors you are not able to access fibre broadband just yet. BT are currently exploring solutions for your area.”

For some time this message gave me hope that we would get fibre broadband. However, I have recently learned that Penrhos is not on any of the roll out plans for fibre broadband and we will not be getting it in the foreseeable future.

If you would like to check the availability for yourself visit: https://beta.gov.wales/go-superfast/can-i-get-it

 

What is superfast broadband?

If you are unsure what superfast broadband is and what difference it would make to your life, for a good explanation visit https://beta.gov.wales/go-superfast/is-it-for-me

 

If you would like fast broadband, what can you do?

There are a few options. Unfortunately they’re often not as fast as fibre, have high installation costs and require an aerial or dish.

However, there is some good news…

  1. Through the Access Broadband Cymru Scheme, the government will fund (or part-fund) the installation costs of new broadband connections for homes and businesses in Wales. A £400 voucher for broadband packages with 10Mbps and 20Mbps download speeds and £800 for a superfast broadband package with download speeds of 30Mbps and above.
  2. A new technology called TV White Space  (TVWS) is about to be trialled in the area and if successful could be a really great option for many of us.

 

 

What are your Superfast broadband options?

 

1. TV White Space (TVWS)

Although this new technology is not currently available, I believe it is worth waiting to find out how the trials go in the next few months. TVWS transmits information to an aerial that is similar to a TV aerial and utilises the unused frequencies between TV channels. These low frequencies can travel through buildings and trees making it available to most people. We hope to know in the next few weeks if this is a viable solution.

The good:

  • Discreet aerial
  • Should be available to most locations
  • Government funded installation costs

The bad:

  • Download speeds currently unknown but expect to be between 10-35 Mbps.
  • Not yet commercially available
  • Prices not yet available

 

2. Wireless Broadband

Wireless Broadband transmits information to and from radio masts. In order to use it you need a small dish about the size of a dinner plate and more importantly a direct line of sight between your dish and a radio mast. Buildings and trees will block the signal, so if you’re surrounded by trees then forget it. If you have a clear line of sight to The Craig or one of the other mast locations, then this could be a good option. Of the three options here, this has the fastest download speeds.

The good:

  • Up to 50mb download speeds
  • Comparable cost to the equivalent BT Fibre package
  • Small dish/antenna
  • Government funded installation costs

The bad:

  • Direct line of sight required from your dish to a mast
  • Trees will block the signal

Where do I get it and how much does it cost?

 

3. Satellite Broadband

Satellite Broadband transmits information to a satellite 22,000 miles away which means that there’s a delay when ever you request information from the internet (called Latency). For example, if you look at a web page there is a delay before the page starts to download. That shouldn’t be a problem for most internet activity such as browsing the web or watching iPlayer however I would recommend that you go for a demo of this service at an office in Bristol before committing. The dish required is 74cm in diameter and can be mounted on walls or the ground.

The good:

  • Download speeds up to 30mb
  • Possible to get this service in most locations
  • Demo available in Bristol

The bad:

  • Requires a white 74cm dish (larger than a Sky dish)
  • It’s costly at nearly twice the price of the equivalent BT Fibre package
  • High latency (delay)

Where do I get it and how much does it cost?

 

About the Access Broadband Cymru Scheme 

The scheme is open to individuals, businesses and 3rd Sectors premises in Wales. Each applicant must meet specific eligibility criteria.

The broadband service that you choose must ensure an absolute minimum download speed of at 10Mbps.

You must commit to a 12 month contract with the broadband supplier.

The scheme will offer a two tier voucher that provides grant support towards eligible costs for a broadband connection that result in a download speed step change.

The voucher denominations are:

£400 voucher for 10Mbps and 20Mbps broadband packages.

£800 voucher for a superfast broadband package (30Mbps and above).

Applications must be submitted before any work is carried out. Full costs need to be submitted along with quotes from suppliers.

For more information and eligibility criteria please go to:

https://beta.gov.wales/go-superfast/not-available-get-help

 

What you can do to help get superfast broadband in Penrhos

First of all, please spread the word about this page.

Secondly, if your property has a clear line of sight to The Craig (Edmund’s Tump) and you would be willing to have a small aerial and small dish mounted somewhere high up, then please let me know. You may be able to help expand the coverage of wireless and TVWS broadband and get free fast broadband for doing so!

 

Next step

In my opinion the best long term solution is still fibre broadband. After talking to someone very helpful at Monmouthshire Business & Enterpise, I believe that the more of us who demonstrate a keen interest in getting superfast broadband – and even better – opt for a grant to get 30 Mbps download speeds, the greater the argument will be to put Penrhos on a rollout plan for fibre broadband and the greater the chance of it happening.

So, please get in touch and let me know if you would like superfast broadband or intend to apply for a grant. The more people I know about the better.

If you would like any help to understand the options available or the information on this page, then get in touch and I would be happy to explain.

Mat Burhouse
mb@slingshot.co.uk