Superfast broadband – The Need for Speed in Wales

Spectrum Internet was asked to speak on BBC Radio Wales’ Eye on Wales program which was broadcast this Sunday which discussed the future of superfast broadband in Wales.

Journalist for BBC Radio Wales, Kayley Thomas finds out in this episode just how far down the road Wales is to superfast broadband for all. Talking to Welsh business owners, Ofcom, BT and Spectrum Internet’s Managing Director, Giles Phelps to get a better understanding on the future of superfast broadband for Wales.

Kayley Thomas spoke to Spectrum Internet’s Managing Director, Giles Phelps about the £80 million of public money that is going into completing the roll-out of superfast broadband across the whole of Wales by 2020 and asked whether that injection of cash will be enough to deliver improved broadband speeds to all that want it?

“It’s a drop in the ocean compared to what really needs to be spend. There has been an acknowledgment of more Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) in Wales which is great but £80 million really isn’t going to do it. However, with hindsight and the lessons that we’ve learnt in the “AltNet” community and certainly endorsed by companies like Spectrum Internet, we would not suggest that money is just given out now in the form of grants.

We think the AltNet community will actually survive very well on loan finance or debt finance, that way it gets match funded and sometimes we can raise a considerable amount of money to invest alongside the government investment. So, in actual fact that £80 million will probably turn into larger sums if it’s used in the right way.”

By the time the Superfast Cyrmu scheme concludes at the end of the year, 95% of Welsh premises should be able to benefit from superfast broadband.

With more than 11 thousand miles of new cable to be put in the ground and 3,000 new road side cabinets would have been installed, the benefits would be that around 760,000 more premises will have access to superfast broadband speeds.

But what about the promise of superfast, reliable broadband to everyone in Wales?

Phelps continues, “We have an awful lot of work to do on reliable because even the current superfast roll out isn’t necessarily the most reliable because we still rely on the old copper based infrastructure that is a real issue for us although fibre is a lot more expensive it is a lot more reliable. So I think getting greater coverage of reliable broadband by 2020 is going to be very difficult because in our eyes to get reliable broadband you’d have to run full fibre broadband.”

Broadband today is absolutely essential, it’s like gas, water and heating in our properties; you have to have it in this day and age. But like our home essentials we expect it to just work and to work reliable, and Wales’ broadband sadly isn’t quite there yet.

To listen to the full broadcast click here