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Most of us receive broadband over the same copper wires which deliver our telephone. This is not ideal, as the broadband signal drops off with distance from the exchange – an inherent feature of high frequency electrical signals and conductors. The laws of physics prevent there being any way of curing this!

Penallt’s broadband is delivered via a protocol called ADSL (as for much of the UK), and those close to telephone exchanges will receive a potential speed of 8 Mb/s – hence the widely advertised “up to 8 Mb/s” speeds.

The graph below shows that, even at 2 km from the exchange, speeds of nearly 8 Mb/s are possible. But, after that, things change dramatically! At the distance of the Glyn Road cabinet (4.5 km), the maximum speed has dropped to only 3.0 Mb/s. For those a km or so further away, this speed will be 0.5 Mb/s or 1.0 Mb/s, hence the large number of houses in the village with such low download speeds.

The red rectangle represents the zone occupied by Penallt houses with Monmouth telephone numbers. The situation for Penallt houses with Trellech telephone numbers is better in that their red zone starts at about the 2.5 km mark – those close to the Whitebrook cabinet should therefore get quite good download speeds (as the map shows). However, those in, say, Tregagle, are sufficiently far from the cabinet that their download speeds have dropped to the 1.0 Mb/s region.

Delivery of broadband over fibre optic cable using light, or via wireless or microwave, does not suffer drop off with distance, so any way of improving broadband in Penallt will use one or more of these methods in some way.

What solutions are there?

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