Wireless projects in North Wales

– Case Study

Conwy CBC Logo

The Background

Prism team members have undertaken over 40 rural broadband infrastructure projects for a mixture of private estate and public sector organisations (South Downs National Park, Highlands and Islands etc) over a 15-year period resulting in nearly 20 fibre, wireless and hybrid network builds including associated grant and public sector intervention/consultation.

These include two projects in North Wales, one a feasibility study for Conwy CBC looking at fibre, wireless and hybrid fibre/wireless approaches and the other for the Bodorgan estate in Anglesey resulting in a fibre/wireless hybrid network connecting from the Bodorgan estate main house and estate office through to the Trac Mon motor racing circuit in the south-west of the island.

The Challenge

The Conwy project was undertaken as the Openreach Superfast rollout was coming to an end and it was clear that while the coastal strip of Conwy (Conwy itself and Llandudno etc.) was going to get reasonable coverage the rural part of Conwy (south of the A55 and down to the A5) was going to get very poor coverage. The issue for the Council was whether to seek funding from the Welsh government for a fibre or wireless delivery model. It was also clear that a variety of stakeholders would have differing views as to priorities and preferences

The Bodorgan project was initiated because the estate was struggling to support the variety of users and events staged at the Trac Mon motor racing circuit used by (amongst others) the 5th Gear television programme for track testing. The estate had installed a microwave wireless connection across the Menai Straits to the mainland for its own use and had a number of properties across the estate that could benefit from improved broadband coverage.

The Solution‚Äč

The Conwy project resulted in detailed mapping and surveying being undertaken and models for both fibre and wireless deployment developed including consultations with all stakeholders. Route maps, wireless coverage plans and costings were developed resulting in Conwy applying to the Welsh government for funding which was approved at the draft stage

The Bodorgan project went ahead with fibre being laid from the estate office to a point at the edge of the main park and then by relayed point-to-point connections to the race track via a tower built on an estate-owned farm at a midpoint. The total distance covered was approximately 20 kilometres. The option remains to extend coverage to other parts of the estate.

The Outcome

The Conwy project was subsumed into the larger North Wales plan, but the research is still valid in terms of property counts, fibre routes and wireless vantage points although the WeLink technology is much more advanced than the 5Ghz technology used for the wireless modelling

The Bodorgan project was a success and an ongoing relationship with the Meyrick Estates (who own Bodorgan) has resulted in a recent survey and costing for a fibre network at the Hinton Admiral estate on the rural Hampshire/Dorset border.