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These can be divided into two categories: solutions provided by the major Telecoms companies, e.g. BT and Virgin Media, and those by smaller third party providers.

BT are pressing ahead with quite a few upgrades to the system, the most widely promoted being the new BT Infinity programme. An intermediate upgrade is provided by ADSL2+

ADSL2+ … a more advanced protocol than ADSL in that the maximum speed it can provide is 24 Mb/s, as opposed to the 8 Mb/s of ADSL. the Monmouth exchange was due to be upgraded to ADSL2+ by May 31st this year, but this has recently been put back to December 31st. [NB the upgrade was done in October 2012. See here for more details]

It might be thought that a 3-fold increase in speed would answer Penallt’s problems, but the equation isn’t as simple as that since ADSL2+ speeds drop off with distance even more sharply than those of ADSL, and any improvement at the range of Penallt would be marginal, if any. See graph below.

BT Infinity … works by bringing optical fibre to the local cabinet. Other companies have equivalent products, e.g. Zen Internet have Fibre Broadband and TalkTalk have Superfast Fibre Optic Broadband. Effectively, this would bring the Monmouth exchange to the Glyn Road cabinet, thereby shortening all distances to the exchange by approx 4.5 km. This would therefore work well for Penallt.

However, there are no plans to upgrade Monmouth for the foreseeable future, and it could be many years before BT Infinity came to Penallt …

Virgin Media provide the ideal solution as they bring optical fibre to the home, thereby delivering speeds of 100 Mb/s and more. However, much trench digging and cable laying is needed – a very expensive and time-consuming process – and, at present, this is only really viable for large towns and cities. The nearest Virgin Media is to Monmouth is believed to be Newport and it could be many years before their fibre reached as far as Penallt, if ever.

So, the conclusion is that we cannot look to the major players to provide better broadband to Penallt and that we must look to the smaller third part providers instead.

Third Party Providers