FibreSpeed solves rural not-spot with wireless link

Three years after Netserve provided a “God-send” wireless link from the FibreSpeed Network, two-thirds of residents in a broadband not-spot are enjoying the benefits of a fast, reliable internet connection.

Residents in Rhiwlas, near Bangor, found themselves without a method of getting connected to the internet, leaving villagers frustrated at their lack of connectivity and local farmers unable to register their cattle online.

Despite being located just five miles from the city, villagers had been frustrated by ponderous speeds, with a dial-up connection their only possible way of getting online.

But thanks to a clever solution provided by FibreSpeed service partner  Netserve Consultants, a wireless link has got almost two thirds of the village up to speed with an affordable service delivering up to 10 Mbits per household.

Rhiwlas resident Phil Roberts, of Opal IT Services, worked with a community broadband group for more than a year to find a solution to the problem. He has been impressed with the high quality internet connection provided by FibreSpeed since the wireless link was set up in January 2010.

Phil said: “It started when farmers were asked to register their cows online, and the modem and dial-up connections were just too slow – they couldn’t do it. That’s the reason we initially looked to put the broadband in.
“Since then, we’ve got 190 households in Rhiwlas set up, and have had less than two hours of down time.

“All the customers have really enjoyed it – it’s made such a difference to everyone.”

With an entry-level 2 Mbps connection priced at less than £18 a month, residents are enjoying the benefits of a fast, reliable internet connection in their wallets as well as online.

Thanks to the wireless link, the Rhiwlas community can comfortably keep up to date with the latest farming news, as well as enjoying an internet connection capable of streaming three television programmes at once.

A Welsh Government project, FibreSpeed delivers business grade telecoms services to more than 185 businesses and 1,500 residencies via its network of service partners.

The rural not-spot had been restricted to a basic dial-up service, with traditional broadband services unavailable as the village is too far away from the nearest telephone exchange.

Phil and the group found that the best solution was to set up a wireless connection to the FibreSpeed network, but even then the village had no “line-of-sight” to link up with the faster provider.

Fortunately, Netserve Consultants set up a new antenna at the nearby Vaynol Hall, creating a 100Mbit wireless link with FibreSpeed’s nearest Point of Presence at Parc Menai.

As the broadband use in Rhiwlas has increased, villagers now have the option of upgrading to an even faster service of up to 10 Mbps.

Phil said that several villagers had already upgraded to higher speeds, and was amazed by the quality and performance delivered by the FibreSpeed network.

“We’ve got some people with home businesses that have upgraded, and a lot of the residents just haven’t needed to. What they’ve have been able to do with it, even at just 2 Mbps, is amazing – some have been streaming three television programs at a time. You can’t do that with most broadband services.
“It’s been an absolute God-send.”

Netserve Consultants’ Managing Director John Lyons said that the wireless link provided a perfect example of a community utilising the FibreSpeed network to solve their not-spot woes, and said that usage had increased so much
“To start with, Rhiwlas basically didn’t have any broadband at all, so they’ve done what many communities do and had a look at what solutions are available,” he said.
“Without the FibreSpeed network, there just would not be a viable business model for communities like Rhiwlas to use.
“We’re three years into the project, and the service has since expanded to bring in a lot more of the wider community, and close to tripled in terms of the number of people connected.

“We are always evaluating the technology available be it fibre to the cabinet, or new radio technology. We want Rhiwlas to always have more bandwidth available than they need to stay ahead of the game.”