What's the problem with Penallt's broadband?

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broadband speed thumbnailAnecdotal evidence suggests that there has been a problem regarding broadband access in Penallt for some time now. However, there was no real evidence for its extent, so a survey was carried out in late 2011/early 2012 to investigate further. This revealed that the average broadband speed in Penallt is 1.1 Mb/s, whereas the national average is 7.6 Mb/s (Ofcom - November 2011). Penallt's speed is about 15% of the national average therefore. More details of the findings can be found here.

Estimated speeds for all households responding to the survey have been obtained from the BT Total Broadband Speed Test website and, when plotted onto a map of the village, reveal some definite patterns. This map is shown right (click it for a full scale version).

The black blobs (0.5 Mb/s), red blobs (1.0 Mb/s) and yellow blobs (1.5 Mb/s) show the distribution of all households categorised as "slow spots", i.e. receiving download speeds of under 2 Mb/s. Green blobs are for speeds of 2 Mb/s and over and are not in "slow spots".

Some features of this map are:

  • a large collection of 0.5 and 1.0 Mb/s blobs around the Pentwyn area and a more scattered congregation of 1.0 Mb/s blobs in Tregagle
  • the position of three BT cabinets (see red squares), the important ones being at the top of Whitebrook and down Glyn Road
  • these cabinets act as sub-exchanges and households near to them have the best broadband speeds - and vice versa
  • an orange dashed line which divides houses which have Monmouth exchange telephone numbers (to the north) from those who have Trellech exchange telephone numbers (to the south)
  • all Monmouth exchange telephones are connected to the Glyn Road cabinet via copper wires; similarly for Trellech exchange phones and the Whitebrook cabinet
  • the Glyn Road cabinet is about 4.5 km from the Monmouth exchange, the Whitebrook cabinet is much nearer to the Trellech exchange - only about 2.4 km; these distances are very significant (see next page)

Why does this happen?

[NB this article consists of three more pages, accessible by clicking links such as that above at the bottom of each one]


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