Drone to the rescue in getting fibre to Welsh village

Openreach is in the final rush to get all its contracted full fibre connected in Wales as the hard deadline of 31st December 2017 approaches and one of the ways they’ve managed to get one village connected up is certainly different. A drone has been used to carry a fibre across a route that would otherwise be very difficult to deploy across or we presume the easier alternative would have meant a lot more distance. The village of Pontfadog near Llangollen now has access to native FTTP so residents can pick packages from 38 Mbps all the way to 300 Mbps and thus should have broadband that is future proof for a good few years (business connections have 500 Mbps and 1000 Mbps options).

I’m an aspiring writer, I work from home and publish my work online – so I do send full novels over the web to my editor or to readers.

Before I would go away and cook tea whilst a file upload went through, but now it literally takes a matter of seconds. I live here with my two teenage sons and they’re often online – watching films, streaming music or skyping their friends. When all three of us were online at the same time it could often be a struggle and things would start to buffer and freeze.

While testing the new fibre connection I managed to open and run six YouTube videos simultaneously! It has made a world of difference to us and I think it’s going to make a huge difference to the lives of everyone living here in Pontfadog. Villager Chris Devismes

Drone based fibre delivery with initial guideline carried across Welsh valley in Pontfadog

Pontfadog is a great example of how our engineers never give up.

They look at every possible engineering solution to deliver fibre broadband in isolated rural areas, and when the more traditional methods didn’t work, they came up with the rather simple yet ingenious idea of using the drone. We’re not aware of this technique being used anywhere in the world to deliver fixed line broadband in such a situation and we’ll be looking to see if it can be replicated for other communities that are in a similar position. Superast Cymru has been a huge success as a public private partnership, and this is just one small example of the challenges our engineers have faced in delivering superfast broadband across Wales.

Ed Hunt, regional director for Openreach

Across Wales access to Openreach full fibre (FTTP) is available to some 46,584 premises (this includes Pontfadog) which is 3.37% coverage across Wales and once you add other providers such as Hyperoptic the coverage bumps to 3.62%.

The premise count even though updated overnight is already out of date as some more FTTP has been spotted and we expect this figure to change almost daily until Openreach has completed its current phase of work in Wales. Powys is the leading local authority[1] for full fibre coverage in Wales at 14.54%.

The bulk of the SuperfastCymru project deliver has been fibre to the cabinet (FTTC/VDSL2) and currently at the 30 Mbps and faster metric Wales is at 92.13% availability and 94.77% of premises have access to a 15 Mbps or faster connection (15 Mbps is the figure behind many press releases and political statements when they talk about high speed services).


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