The technology used for the provision of fibre is of two types, FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) and FTTP (fibre to the premises.) The vast majority of the infrastructure upgrade will be FTTC as this is much cheaper. The good news is really that this means that a lot of copper will be replaced up to street cabinet level. Longer runs of copper, where the signal degrades significantly, will be replaced by fibre, which doesn’t degrade in quality over these distances. People a long way from BT exchanges will see the biggest improvements, as some of these more outlying areas are getting speeds as low as 512MB or lower. With the promised FTTC speeds of 40Meg/s, this could offer an incredible performance boost.
Wales allocated £56.9 million for broadband roll-out
So what are the timescales for this rollout?
In July 2011, the UK government allocated £56.9 million for a superfast broadband rollout, to be matched by the Welsh Assembly.
Meanwhile, the Welsh Assembly is considering bids for the work of ungrading the infrastructure and plan to award the contract in March 2012. In this statement “Welsh Ministers have set a target for all businesses to have access to Next Generation broadband by mid-2016, and all households by 2020 – ahead of European targets. ”
However, in a more recent statement on 12th September 2011 by Edwina Hart , the plans appear to have been accelerated. “It is a Welsh Government commitment to deliver broadband to all households and businesses by 2015 through our Next Generation Broadband for Wales (NGBW) project.” Next-generation broadband includes giving access to a minimum speed of 30 Mbps (mega bits per second).
All in all, the users who stand to benefit most from this upgrade are those who are several miles from their exchange. I, for one, have no need for more than 8Mbps, as this is ample to watch BBC iPlayer in HD!
I do wonder, how long before the cafe on Mount Snowdon gets Superfast Broadband. The government statement did say “all businesses!”