Patchy broadband and mobile coverage a concern for Liz Saville Roberts

WE all want to stay in touch.

Our hand-held devices – phones and tablets – are welded into our lives.

Children bring them to school, to the despair of teachers. Adults stumble along with three quarters of their attention focussed on the magic screen and scant attention to the world about them. We drop them on the floor, and despair. Even as I write, the human race is evolving thinner thumbs and losing the ability to compose a formal letter with a fountain pen. Fat fingers are an evolutionary dead-end. Connectivity is the new utility: as essential to our 21st century lives as electricity. It is the means by which we work and play.

Be it broadband or 4G, most of us want it and government is fast assuming that, as far as receiving services is concerned, we all have access to it. Which is fine, unless you’re not connected. That’s when ‘digital by default’ fast morph into ‘digitally denied’. Just under three quarters of Dwyfor Meirionnydd has access to superfast broadband, while only 56 per cent of Ceredigion has broadband speeds up 30 mega-bits, according to the extremely useful website, It’s to be welcomed, then, that the Digital Economy Bill presently working its way through Parliament promises a universal service obligation for broadband. What isn’t clear, however, is at what price providers such as BT’s Openreach will be allowed to say the cost is prohibitive. Welsh Government pays BT up to ?1,700 per premises to bring broadband to a home.

Interestingly, this is considerably less than the ?3,400 threshold for installing a telephone line. If providing a land line was felt to be justifiable up to a certain cost, why would broadband be restricted to half that cost? But, while broadband is the steady thoroughfare of home connectivity, mobile signals are the motorway. People are used to depending on their phones as an alternative to satnav. When they get lost in the mountains, they expect, at the very least, the 2G link to emergency rescue. And this is where the four main mobile providers let us down. Visitors from the continent can roam from provider to provider according to the strongest signal.

Mobile users here have to accept that competition is king. Even in an area as challenging as Snowdonia National Park (hills, valleys, planning restrictions), EE, O2, Vodafone and 3 still don’t share masts or allow roaming. And EE has just won the emergency services mobile network contract. Which means that all of us tax payers will contribute towards the cost of extra masts to improve the signal for the police, ambulance and fire service (obviously a good thing). And EE will put their infrastructure on these masts too.

Great news is you’re an EE customer, not great news if you’re a tax payer with a Vodafone contract. While we could just shrug our shoulders and sign up with the best provider for our home community, spare a thought for the fact that tourism contributes massively to the local economy. If connectivity is the 21st century norm, visitors and locals alike need to keep in touch.

Isn’t now the time to call for a universal service obligation for mobile signal?

New Quay Self Catering Cottage

Arrive Fri 19 February 2016
Self Catering
Stay for 3 nights
Sleeps 2 people

Save 10%, now 275

Prices from 195

Cosy cottage just minutes from Cardigan bay heritage coastline. Spot dolphins and seals nearby. Log fire, kingsize bed, fireside rolltop bath. Free wifi. Bryn-y-Gof (Blacksmith’s Hill) is a luxurious, characterful stone cottage just two miles from the stunning heritage coastline of Cardigan Bay.

With cosy log fires, a very comfortable kingsize bed and even a fireside rolltop slipper bath it is perfect for that special romantic break at any time of year.

The Accommodation

Ground floor lounge kitchen diner

Lounge: Large inglenook fireplace with large woodburning log fire. Lime-washed stone walls, beautiful beamed ceiling, stunning oak floor, wide screen digital TV, DVD, ipod dock. There is a comfortable leather couch to curl up on and also a fireside armchair. We provide free broadband internet access and for those who need to work there is also a separate desk with study lamp. Kitchen diner: Beautiful oak kitchen and worktops, quarry tiled floor, beamed ceiling, ceramic top cooker, fridge, microwave, antique table and chairs.

An antique oak staircase leads up to the large galleried bedroom. Please note that this staircase is steeper than normal and therefore unsuitable for the infirm. Please call us if you need advice about accessibility. Upstairs bedroom and en-suite shower room. The large light and airy bedroom has a stunning beamed ceiling, antique king-size brass and iron bed, luxurious roll-top slipper bath by the fire, and a tv/dvd player.

You can even watch foxes and rabbits play in adjacent field from bed. The Kingsize beds is freshly made for your arrival. Tea-towels, electricity, central heating and initial logs are all provided along with free broadband access. There is a separate en-suite shower room with power shower, toilet, basin, shaver socket etc. The cottage has recently been restored to the highest standard, retaining the wonderful character of this beautiful historic building.

Lime mortar and lime wash have been used throughout. The antique oak and pine has been painstakingly restored too, giving the cottage a wonderful cosy and welcoming atmosphere throughout. The cottage has central heating, and excellent tv reception including digital tv. All furnishings are either brand new or beautiful antiques. Travel Cot and Highchair are available by prior arrangement. There is also a stairgate at the top of the stairs.

Outside is a large furnished private patio with stunning views across beautiful open countryside. Sit and listen to the sound of the stream in the wooded valley below, listen to the abundant bird life or wander through our 7 acre meadow. Watch foxes and rabbits play (not together of course) in the adjacent fields too. The absence of light pollution ensures a breathtaking Night Sky on a clear night. The Sunsets are magical too, especially when viewed from the local beaches. There is private parking for one car (give us a call if you need space for another).

Well-behaved dogs are welcome (max 2) strictly by prior arrangement only. This subject to an additional pet charge and very strict house rules. Out and about:

A stunning woodland path takes you to the spectacular Cardigan Bay Heritage Coastline with its resident populations of bottle-nosed dolphin and grey seal. Follow the stream through the stunning woods and walk to the nearest cove which is truly magical Cwmtydu (and Seal Bay of course). The gorgeous Blue Flag beaches of Llangrannog and New Quay are within a 5 minute drive. There are lots of good pubs, cafes, restaurants and farm shops nearby too. You can walk to the local village shop and pub/restaurant (The Crown Inn) which are both just a pleasant 1 mile walk away.

Bookings: 50% deposit secures the booking. Payments either by card, bank transfer or cheque. Balance due 6 weeks prior to arrival. For bookings made within 6 weeks of arrival full payment will be due in 1 installment.

Guests are free to arrive any time after 3:00pm and Departure is by 11am

Prices include bed linen, electricity, central heating, initial basket of logs and broadband internet access (wired and wireless). Travel cot and highchair also available by prior arrangement. Please bring your own towels and cot bedding.

Booking Conditions:

1. Contact us via email or telephone to check availability for your required dates.


We will then provisionally reserve the accommodation for you for 3 days pending receipt of required deposit.

3. A deposit of 50% of total holiday secures the booking. Payments are accepted via card, cheque or bank transfer.

4. Upon receipt of deposit we will send written confirmation (post or e-mail) of your booking along with directions on how to get to to Bryn-y-Gof.

5. The balance is payable 6 weeks prior to arrival, via one of the above mentioned methods.

6. In the event of a cancellation made by you we will make very effort to re-let the accommodation and if successful will refund your monies less an administration charge of 30. Please note, however, that if we are unable to re-let the accommodation we will be unable to refund monies.

We suggest you consider appropriate holiday cancellation insurance to cover this possibility.