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Superfast Cymru on track to reach 96 per cent of Welsh properties by 2016

The final areas to be upgraded by Superfast Cymru, which aims to bring up to 80Mbps broadband to 96 per cent of Welsh properties, have been announced. 

Superfast Cymru will see the majority of homes and businesses in Wales able to order FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)-based services from ISPs using BT’s Openreach network. 

Properties located in the remaining 4 per cent are promised a ‘basic’ service delivering download speeds of at least 2Mbps at all times by Spring 2016, when the project is due to end. 

Engineers have already put in more than 400,000 hours to get Wales connected
Engineers have already put in more than 400,000 hours to get Wales upgraded

Ann Beynon, BT Director for Wales, said: “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. I’m particularly proud of our engineers who are working incredibly hard in often very rural and challenging areas to bring the benefits of superfast broadband to Wales.” 

Alongside Superfast Cymru, a BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) project, BT embarked on its own commercial upgrade programme, which saw two-thirds of the UK able to order superfast broadband. 

Superfast broadband is defined as a service that will provide download speeds of at least 25Mbps at all times. 

BT’s FTTC connections promise a top speed of 80Mbps – but like last-gen ADSL broadband, the service you get ultimately depends on your location. The further away you are from a cabinet, the slower your broadband speeds will be. 

It’s not clear what sorts of speeds will be available to residents and businesses once the project is finished. BT is experimenting with technologies like which could greatly improve the top download speeds possible over copper lines. The jury’s out on when – or even if – this technology will be commercially viable. 

BT’s FTTC lines can also be upgraded to full fat FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) which currently delivers top download speeds of 330Mbps which don’t degrade over distance. Unfortunately, this service is only available to business customers in a handful of areas – and as a Manchester landlord found out it’s more than a little expensive

By the time Superfast Cymru is finished, every BT exchange in Wales should be upgraded. While this might suggest that everyone in Wales will be able to order superfast broadband, that’s not necessarily the case – BT will need to install and enable more cabinets for 100 per cent coverage. 

So far, a total of 230,000 properties across Wales can now order superfast broadband. The last phase of Superfast Cymru, due to start by the end of September 2015, will see new 3,000 cabinets set up. The last lot of communities to be covered 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