Press Release Nov 2012

From the Monmouthshire Beacon November 9th 2012:-

Penallt, sitting four miles above Monmouth, is one of the ‘not-spot’ rural communities where broadband speeds are well below the 2 Mbps (megabits per second) that the Government has set as a minimum acceptable speed.  Many homes in Penallt and other rural areas have less than 1 Mbps and some cannot get broadband at all.

What this means is that it is practically impossible for the majority of villagers to use BBC’s iPlayer or watch videos or download heavy files.

Penallt has watched the rest of the UK get upgrades to an average speed now of 9 Mbps (Ofcom, Aug 15). And the latest BT upgrade to the Monmouth exchange has had little if any impact on homes in Penallt because of their distance from the Monmouth Exchange..

And so a year ago Penallt decided to take things into its own hands. A small team set out to investigate alternative methods of achieving an acceptable broadband speed equal to that enjoyed by Monmouth. It eventually chose a solution offered by Spectrum Internet, the largest Welsh ISP, which combines microwaves to shrink the distance between Penallt and Monmouth and wireless connections for the more remote homes.

All of this has been made possible by Government grants – a lump sum grant from Monmouthshire County Council of £45,000 and individual grants of £1000 per home under the Welsh Government Broadband Support Scheme to each of the homes signing up to the scheme.

Penallt is the first community in Monmouthshire to have qualified for both grants and, with work already begun, looks set to be the first community to convert to its own broadband system by Christmas.

Local MP David Davies, who recently chaired a report by the Welsh Affairs Select Committee into Broadband in Wales and has been very supportive of the scheme said:

“I was absolutely delighted to hear that the Penallt project is underway. I would encourage those who are tired of waiting for a cable connection to take matters into their own hands and seek grant funding for alternative ways to get online.”

More information about the Penallt broadband project is available from our Broadband home page.