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Free WiFi and freezing weather: Broadband Rollout Roundup 06/04/2013

It’s April folks and that means that Spring is in the air. The cold harsh winds have stopped blowing, the snow’s melted and good times are just around the corner… 

Actually wait, that’s not true. It’s still cold and miserable, the government has taken yet another scalpel to the public purse and there’s very little on the ground rollout-wise to warm our bitter, frozen hearts. Because of the increasingly shoddy weather BT is still preoccupied with repair work up and down the country. 

Spare a thought for those poor souls of the Isle of Arran who’ve gone another week without broadband. At least we’ve recourse to complain about the paucity of developments on the UK’s superfast rollout front. 

It’s not all bad though. 

A stalled Race to Infinity rural broadband project seems to be back on track, there’s free WiFi floating on the streets of Hereford and the first business in Deddington, the UK’s first fibre-only village. As well as this, Superfast Cymru has unveiled a postcode checker, so while not a rollout announcement per se, Welsh superfast hopefuls can keep a tab on when better speeds might be available in their neck of the woods. 

Without further preprandials, let’s get on with the main course of Broadband Rollout Roundup for the week ending April 6, 2013. 

Free WiFi and freezing weather: Broadband Rollout Roundup 06/04/2013
There’s a lot of carbon scoring here. Let’s see if I can’t just…

Free WiFi comes to Hereford town centre courtesy of Allpay Broadband

Who doesn’t like free WiFi? Regular readers will be forgiven for thinking that its just Londoners who get to bask in bucketloads of free wireless internet access but that’s not the case. 

Wireless broadband provider Allpay Broadband has set up a free WiFi network in the town centre of Hereford, letting locals and visitors patch in to free internet on the go. After signing in once, you’ll automatically hop on to the network every time you’re in range on your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever WiFi-enabled device you’ve got. 

BT Race to Infinity fibre broadband restarts in Madingley

The BT Race to Infinity programme was a venture launched by BT to gauge rural interest in superfast broadband. Madingley in Cambridgeshire was one of the locations selected but a series of delays has seen local residents and companies hanging on the telephone, literally. 

However we’re told that the Race to Infinity is back on track and folks in Madingley, Hardwick and Caldecote can expect to start placing orders for fibre-based services this month. BT are still being cagey on handing out concrete dates but we’re assured that April is when it’s going to happen. Let’s hope so… 

Superfast Cymru fibre broadband project reveals rollouts a year ahead

Again, this isn’t a rollout story exactly, but it’s something that those hankering for better broadband in the Old Land of My Fathers will want to keep an eye on. Superfast Cymru has launched a dedicated postcode checker on its site, meaning Welsh residents and companies can better keep track of when services are available in their areas. 

Superfast Cymru has pledged to connect up to 96 per cent of the country to faster speeds by 2015. The main technology used, as in virtually all of the regional BDUK projects, will be FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) on BT’s network. 

This week BT has also revealed pricing details for FTTP On Demand, the service which will let ISPs and customers offer FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) as an upgrade option to FTTC lines. FTTP provides a much faster and more future-proofed connection than FTTC. Unfortunately for regular customers the prices of FTTP On Demand aren’t cheap. Starting at £700 a pop and going all the way up to £4,000, it’s something more for businesses with the cash to burn rather than your average UK homeowner, at least at this stage. 

BT engineers clear out UK snow damage in Northern Ireland

One of the things that’s holding back the rollout of superfast services recently is BT’s latest phase in its seemingly endless war with the elements. The arctic Easter conditions have blasted parts of the UK, leaving residents on the Isle of Arran, north Wales and Northern Ireland sans broadband or phone. Teams of BT workers have been working hard to get people re-connected and back out of the doledrums. This week, Northern Ireland has been given the all clear as the first of many work loads has been cleared. Fingers crossed that all those affected by the latest blast of crap weather will soon to be reunited with the warm glow of the internet.

That’s all for this week, have a great weekend and see you next time.


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