Data from Ofcom’s annual Connected Nations Report, which analyses the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK, reveals that both broadband and mobile coverage improved across Wales throughout 2019, but there remains much work to be done in rural areas.
There is a marked difference in coverage in South Wales along the M4 corridor vs Mid and North Wales, a source of constant complaints for many.
While many mobile users in the South Wales M4 corridor are focused on the latest tech, checking out the best Samsung Galaxy S10 Deals, in many areas of the North, users struggle to access basic emails on mobile and don’t get good enough broadband to use streaming services.
Access to full fibre broadband in Wales is above the UK average, but according to Ofcom estimates, 15,500 properties in Wales are unable to access ‘decent’ broadband (defined by the Government as a download speed of at least 10 Mbit/s, and an upload speed of at least 1 Mbit/s.), while just 58% of Wales can get good 4G reception from all 4 networks.
The good news is things are improving all the time and there is much effort being put in to equalising the service.
Vodafone recently rolled out 5G to Llandudno in North Wales, a move that was widely appreciated after locals and holidaymakers complained about substandard service.
In October 2019, the Welsh Government announced £4m of EU funding for a Digital Centre of Excellence in Bangor, which will undertake 5G research. This is excellent for North Wales, and hopes are that the region will become a Digital Centre of Excellence.
The Welsh Government are also working with Openreach (BT) to extend gigabit-capable”full fibre” (FTTP) broadband to a further 26,000 premises by March 2021 – they recently also announced that they intend to open some of their own telecoms ducts for use by ISPs to help boost connectivity and capacity supplies.
Meanwhile, in January, Openreach announced new plans to extend ultrafast broadband to 14 North Wales towns and villages, including Denbigh, Holywell and Flint and the villages of Caergwrle, Cefn-y-Bedd, Hope, Carmel, Brynford, Gorsedd, Mostyn, Berthengam, Ffynongroyw, Pen-y-Ffordd and Henllan.
It’s positive to hear things are finally changing for North Wales, but let’s make sure we don’t forget about Mid and West Wales, too. Our country has a diverse cultural heritage – and we love to talk.
Let’s hope by 2021, the whole of Wales is able to communicate on at least 4G.