October Update

Penallt Broadband Association update

26th October 2012
The Penallt Broadband Association is delighted to announce that it has been successful with both the MCC and the Welsh Government grant applications and that the full sums applied for have been approved.

Those who have made applications for the WAG grant should receive details of this by post next week and will be asked to return confirmation that they wish to remain in the scheme. A separate mail from the PBA gives more information.

The next steps will involve various surveys being conducted by Spectrum Internet engineers next week, including a wireless survey of Tregagle. During three weeks from mid November, the new Lone Lane cabinet is planned to be installed and a trench dug to connect it to a microwave mast and electricity supply further uphill. This work is being done in conjunction with re-surfacing of Lone Lane so any further disruption should be negligible.

It is therefore possible that the whole task could be completed within a couple of months from now!

Finally, the WAG Broadband Support office wants to emphasise that those who have not already signed up to the broadband scheme should still be able to apply for a grant and should contact the webmaster if they wish to do so.

11th October 2012The MCC Grant process continues and we are negotiating a necessary change in the terms and conditions of the award. This has entailed re-submitting our application with further documentation and we are hopeful of an early decision.

The Welsh Government grant application is ongoing. They have reviewed our 78 applications and have asked for more detail from our partner Spectrum Internet than originally supplied. Spectrum re-submitted and we are awaiting their response.

We expect decisions on both grants within the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Spectrum want to plan ahead and are hopeful that the first stage of trench digging will take place towards the end of November/early December. The existing cabinet needs to be connected to the proposed new one and the latter needs to be connected to the nearest electricity source nearby. This has to be fitted in with the present road repairs programme that is in process down there and coordinated with Western Power.

Spectrum plan soon to be contacting directly the 78 homes in the scheme to give the latest information and to explain what the next steps will be. The actual work involved will not take more than a few weeks but we do not know how long it will take to obtain planning consent for siting the cabinet and the required microwave mast and, of course, we need the grant funding.

“We’re upgrading your local exchange”

On a related matter, many of those connected to the Monmouth exchange have recently received an email from BT saying “We’re upgrading your local exchange to give you a better service”. It goes on to state:

On 12-Oct-12, we’ll be upgrading your local phone exchange. That means you’ll get a stronger, more reliable broadband connection. (It might make it a bit faster, too.)

Our advice is not to get too excited about this!

What’s happening is that BT are upgrading their equipment in the Exchange from ADSL Max to ADSL2+. Those close to the exchange in Monmouth may see a near tripling of their internet speeds (up to 20 Mbps) but it will not really affect users with long line lengths such as those in Penallt!

Those subscribing to TalkTalk and Sky for their broadband will have already been using ADSL2+ and won’t see a difference. Others may find that speeds do improve slightly and those getting 1.8Mbps may tip over the 2Mbps mark, but not by much. [See here for reasons why]. BT Internet customers with less than 1Mbps will probably find it makes hardly any difference at all and those not on BT will see no change.

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