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Wales set for 96% fibre optic coverage by Spring 2016

Every telephone exchange in Wales is to get work to bring superfast broadband to even more towns and villages across Wales with work due to be started in them all by the end of September 2015.

There are many areas that will have the work started before September 2015 and these include Aberdaron in Gwynedd, Capel Curig and Dolgarrog in Conwy, Brechfa in Carmarthenshire and Skenfrith in Monmouthshire. This will mean that these places will join the other areas of Wales where fibre optic broadband has already been switched on or will be due to.

The announcement of the plans came from The Welsh Government and BT last week as part of the Superfast Cymru programme. The aim is that by Spring 2016 that 96% of premises there will be able to connect to superfast fibre optic broadband if they want to, making it one of the most well connected countries in Europe.

The project is being funded by the Welsh Government, the UK Government and the European Development Fund to the tune of £205m between them and the remaining £220m of funding is coming from BT.

Currently there are around 230,000 homes and businesses in Wales that are able to connect to fibre broadband if they wish as part of the Superfast Cymru project. The project will see around 17,500kms of fibre optic cable being installed and 3,000 of the new roadside cabinets.

BT Director for Wales, Ann Beynon, said:

“This is big news for Wales as people will now know when work will start for every single telephone exchange in Wales.”

“It’s probably the biggest engineering programme Wales has seen in the last ten years with the potential to improve the lives of individuals, families and businesses across Wales.

“Through BT’s own commercial roll-out and now with Superfast Cymru we are taking world class speeds the length and breadth of Wales.”

To check the coverage map for Wales for those that already have access to fibre, visit www.superfast-cymru.com/where-and-when.
The areas that are set to have work installing fibre optic before the end of September 2015 are:

  • Gwynedd: Aberdaron
  • Conwy: Capel Curig, Dolgarrog, Dolwen, Llanfairtalhaiarn, Llangernyw, Penmachno, Pentrefoelas
  • Denbighshire:, Llannefydd, Nantglyn,
  • Carmarthenshire: Brechfa, Dryslwyn, Gwynfe, Madox, Rhandirmwyn
  • Flintshire: Saughall
  • Monmouthshire: Crucorney, Dingestow, Ponrilas, Shirenewton, Skenfrith, Tintern, Trelleck, Wolvesnewton
  • Pembrokeshire: Angle, Castle Martin, Clarbeston, Cynghordy, Llanteg, Llawhaden, Maenclochog, Martletwy, Puncheston, Rhos,
  • Powys: Beguildy, Llananno, Llangunllo, Llanwddyn, Painscastle, Pantydwr
  • Vale of Glamorgan: St Nicholas
  • Wrexham: Llanarmon Dyffryn-Ceiriog

 

UK Average fixed line broadband speed is 18.7Mb

According to the latest research by Ofcom, the average UK residential fixed broadband speed reached 18.7Mb in May 2014.

Fixed line broadband connections had speed tests taken which included those on standard fixed copper broadband and also those connected with fibre optic cable. Overall the average of all the fixed line connections was 18.7Mb. When it came to those on superfast broadband connections which were classed as broadband connections with headline speeds of 30Mb or above, the average speed of these was 47Mb.
When it came to broadband that was in deals that advertised broadband speeds of above “up to” 10Mb but below “up to” 30Mb the actual average broadband speed for these connections was 9Mb, this will mainly be for standard ADSL connections and ADSL2+.
For those in the broadband slower lane, those on deals that were advertised as above “up to” 2Mb and “up to” and including 10Mb was an average speed of 3.3Mb.

Overall, for those on standard ADSL connections saw the average broadband speed achieved to be 7.4Mb which is up 10% from the 6 months from November 2013 and is possibly related to infrastructure upgrades as part of the fibre optic broadband roll out.

Take up of fibre optic superfast broadband with connections of 30Mb and above stands at 28% of UK households which is a 4% rise from November 2013.

Virgin Media will be pleased with some of the findings too as the report also stated that they found cable connections on average were at 43.3Mb which is faster than the fibre optic connections offered by BT that had an average speed of 42Mb.

In the UK the main fibre optic connections that UK households can receive is via BT Openreach’s Fibre To The Cabinet connections which uses fibre optic cable from the exchange to the streetside cabinet and then the existing copper network to take the connection the rest of the way to the customer’s premises. The difference is that Virgin Media’s cable network has a fibre optic cable go all the way to the actual customer’s premises.

The full Ofcom report can be viewed at www.ofcom.org.uk

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The moon gets 20Mb broadband speeds

The moon is able to get faster broadband speeds than much of the UK after NASA and MIT carried out some work and achieved broadband speeds of nearly 20Mb on the moon.

The moon is 384,633km away from Earth but the Nasa 7 MIT team managed to transmit data across this huge distance at a rate of 19.44Mb and then upload at an astonishing 622Mb which is 4,800 times faster than the previous record.

The connection is done by using a laser powered communications uploading through RF signals (Radio Frequency). The problem that there is with transmitting over this great distance is that turbulance can bend light which can then lead to fading and drop outs of the signal.

The fact that the moon can get broadband speeds of 19.44Mb won’t be any consolation to those who are in the broadband slow lane in the UK. According to Ofcom, the average UK broadband speed is 17.8Mb with the average broadband speed in rural areas is just 11.3Mb. Howevere there will be plenty of households who don’t get anywhere near to those broadband speed test results.

UK’s slowest and fastest broadband streets revealed

The worst streets for broadband in the UK have been found and the broadband speeds that they offer would make many people decide to watch a film rather than use the internet, providing they don’t need to download the film that is because it would take around 15 hours to download one!

Wheatley Road in Corringham, Essex, and Erw Fawr in Henryd, North Wales are the 2 streets that have taken the dubious “honour” of having the slowest broadband speeds in the UK at just 0.6Mb/sec.
Their speeds are a staggering 30 times slower than the national average broadband speed for the UK of 17.8Mb.

uSwitch.com have studied broadband speeds across the country to compile their list of 50 slowest streets for broadband with the research being based on 1.8 million broadband speeds test being run over a 6 month period.

One potential surprise is that Essex, despite being so close to London, has 6 streets in the slowest 50 list, more than any other county in the UK.

At the other end of the scale the study found that Loundes Road, Unstone, Dronfield, Derbyshire, topped the list as the fastest street averaging a download speed of 57.58Mb a huge 96 times faster than those with the slowest broadband.

Not looking at the extremes, uSwitch also found that 40% of households have broadband speeds lower than 5Mb and just 15% were in the “superfast” lane with 30Mb or above. For reference, a 5Mb connection would mean it would take 13 minutes to download one episode of a TV show.

The uSwitch broadband expert, Marie-Louise Abretti, said:

There are still areas in the UK which experience broadband speeds so slow the service is negligible. At the same time, superfast broadband connections are becoming more widely available but – as our research suggests – these are clearly not being utilised.

As has previously been reported, broadband speeds can affect the price of houses, so those stuck in the very slow lane could find that their properties are far less desirable and harder to sell until things change and improved broadband connections are made available.

Average UK broadband speed reaches 17.8Mb

The average UK Broradband speed now stands at 17.8Mb according to Ofcoms latest speed test study with a quarter of households now having a superfast broadband connection.

The UK-fixed line residential broadband connections that Ofcom look in to found that their results for November 2013 was that the average UK broadband speed was 17.8Mb which was an increase of 3.1Mb in the 6 months from May 2013 and took into account the whole spectrum of different UK broadband connections such as the Up To 2mb, and the superfast above 30Mb connections.

Ofcom Broadband Speeds November 2013The data also showed that superfast broadband (which is broadband with headline speeds of 30Mb or higher) had an average of 47Mb which is a small rise of 1.7Mb since May 2013. Over a longer term since May 2010 which was a 3.5 year gap the rise was 47% (15.1Mb) that the superfast broadband speed average had increased, much of this will be down to BT investing heavily in their fibre optic network and also the competition between Virgin Media & BT with increasing their headline speeds so they can offer the fastest broadband available.

In terms of broadband providers, Virgin Media topped the fastest broadband on their “up to” 120Mb package which uses cable technology and achieved the fastest download speeds over a 24 hour period of 114.9Mb. Next up were companies using BT Openreach’s network (BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Sky and EE) who registered an average download speed of 64.8Mb on their “up to” 76Mb service.

Take up of superfast broadband is continuing to increase too, with a quarter (25%) now having a superfast broadband connection with a headline speed of “up to” 30Mb or above and is a steady rise from the 19% that was reported 6 months earlier in May 2013. In the 3 years from November 2010 this has increased massively from the just 1% that had these advertised headline speeds back then.

This is the tenth broadband speed test report that Ofcom have done (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk) for UK fixed line broadband speeds and it utilised 735 million tests results recorded from 2,391 homes during November 2013.

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Slow Broadband speeds could drop house price by 20%

A properties value could vary by as much as 20% based on how fast or slow the broadband connection is according to a BBC property expert.

Henry Pryor, the BBC property expert said that broadband speed is now regarded as the fourth utility along with electricity, gas and water.
He said:
“I was involved with a survey that looked at the impact of broadband speed on people looking to buy or rent and the potential impact on prices and we found a home without at least a standard broadband connection could be worth up to 20 per cent less than a comparable property.

Broadband in my view is effectively the fourth utility as so much of life now requires decent broadband connection especially when you look at how much we deal with things online such as banking or controlling your appliances when you are away.”

As we reported last week, Rightmove have now started to list the average broadband speeds for every property that it lists, meaning that visitors to their site will be able to get a good idea of the broadband speeds available for every property that they view on Rightmove.

This just goes to show the importance that people now place on their internet connection, having a slow broadband connection can hinder or stop people from performing what many would consider everyday things now, for example streaming TV online or even make working from home less feasible if they can’t get their work done on slower broadband connections.

As the government has set a target of 95% coverage of the UK with superfast broadband by 2017, this should mean that 95% of premises should be able to connect to a broadband connection of 24mb or above. Those without these sort of speeds could well and truly be left high and dry if there isn’t sufficient advances to help cover the remaining 5% of premises with other technologies.

Rightmove list average broadband speeds for all properties

Rightmove, the property website is now listing the average broadband speeds that can be expected at all the properties that it lists.

There are more than 1 million homes listed on Rightmove.co.uk and the importance of broadband speeds to buyers is very clear, with research done with over 3,000 Rightmove users showing that broadband details were ranked as more important for a property than the local transport links and what the schools nearby were.

Bernard Phillips from Rightmove, said:
We’re always considering new developments to our website and mobile platforms, to make sure we provide Rightmove users with the best property search experience and because we understand the benefits these have for our customers.  The trial exceeded our expectations so it’s become a permanent addition that further enhances our listings.  We already offer a number of tools to help consumers make informed decisions about a property including local schools and transport links, and we’re pleased to be the first to add data on broadband, something that has become ingrained in people’s lives and an important factor when choosing a home.

On each property listing you just need to click on the “Check Broadband Speed” link to find what the average internet speed for that post code is. The speed will be displayed and explain what type of things you will be able to do on a broadband connection of that speed, for example if you will be able to have multiple people using the internet at the same time or if you can stream HD videos etc.