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Wireless broadband trials bring superfast speeds to Welsh village

Wednesday, May 17th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A new wireless broadband technology is being used to deliver faster speeds to residents of a Welsh village.

Nominet, better known as the .uk domain name registry, is running a six-month trial with nine households in Llanarth, Monmouthshire, which could lead to an eventual county-wide rollout.

The technology is called TV white space and uses the frequencies made available by the UK’s digital TV switchover to transmit relatively high data rates over long distances.

This enables connectivity in large open areas where it may not be possible – or financially viable – to install fibre cables.

To ensure that its signals don’t interfere with TV broadcasts, Nominet’s geo-location database tells devices what frequencies they can use, at what power, and for how long.

Nominet said around 170 households in Llanarth experience an average speed of 2.5Mbps compared to a UK average of 22.8Mbps.

It said one participant in its trial was paying over £90 a month for broadband good enough for him to work from home and is now getting speeds of 30Mbps.

Russell Haworth, Nominet’s chief executive, said: “Rural communities deserve a fair deal on broadband just like everybody else and TV white space is proving to be a gamechanger.

'Beautiful but remote'

“Following the success of our technology on the Isle of Arran; the pilot in Llanarth is further proof that dynamic spectrum management has great potential to narrow the digital divide in the UK, giving people in remote areas access to a high-speed internet service that they would otherwise be without.”

Michael Armitage, founder director of Broadway Partners, which is helping to run the pilot scheme, said: “TV white space is a resilient and affordable option that brings high-speed internet to areas that have struggled to get online in the past.

“Llanarth is a beautiful but remote village, with residents who need access to better connectivity in order to grow their businesses and get more out of everyday life.”

Monmouthshire council, which approached Nominet and Broadway Partners to trial TV white space in the county, is applying for funding from the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme to help extend the use of the technology.

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