Rural Broadband Project


Treuddyn is a village in a rural location in North Wales approximately 5 miles from Mold the nearest town. It was served with broadband but due to the geographically challenging nature of outlying parts of the village and its distance from the nearest telephone exchanges broadband speeds varied from around 4mbps to none at all. Surrounding villages fared worse with some unable to receive broadband at all.

A wireless broadband project was first mentioned within a Treuddyn News article in early 2009 which detailed the possibility of removing the reliance on traditional 'telephone wire' delivered broadband services to be replaced with a wireless solution linking to the FibreSpeed network Point of Presence (PoP) in Mold.

Initial work was carried out to determine the suitability of Treuddyn and the surrounding areas for a wireless network, and surveys were carried out to determine the level of commitment to such a scheme within the community. At that period of time the costs of infrastructure to set up a wireless network made the commercial proposition unattractive.

GSTS Involvement

GSTS Director Gary Short first got involved in the project on a casual basis from the very early days, helping to provide information for the Wireless survey that took place. "From a personal perspective I wanted to see what the wireless network could bring in terms of speed and cost as the internet is so important now for communication, shopping, entertainment and gaming - things that can be quite difficult on slow broadband speeds. More importantly from a company perspective broadband speed and reliability is crucial, as part of our company's revenue stream depends on the ability to deliver software enhancements over the internet to our clients and the present broadband speed we receive makes this a major challenge."

From July 2010 Gary requested that GSTS took over the running of the broadband project on a non-commercial basis. The project was run using the following principals.

Community Driven Approach

To ensure that the best solution was delivered it was important that the community led the project, rather than being driven by the potential suppliers of the solutions. It was very important that we understood what each supplier was offering and we did not make assumptions about the services being provided i.e. Does a supplier of a broadband service not only provide the infrastructure but also provides the ISP services (including a choice of ISPs) to go with it. It was very easy to assume that the services received via an existing ISP using BT telephone wires would be replicated by those using different technology approaches.

It was important that the community, understood the pros and cons of any new broadband service and GSTS helped to get a full understanding of each supplier's offering. To help frame this GSTS created a Broadband Product Description (PDF Version) which detailed the information required from each supplier.

Understand the Needs of the Community

Until GSTS fully understood what the community wanted and how much people were willing to pay for services, it was very difficult to engage suppliers effectively. Clearly some of our areas didn't have broadband at all, some had low speed broadband and others within the area were adequately served. It was important that the community supplied information about its desire for broadband so that GSTS could confidently discuss the requirements with the suppliers and gauge their responses appropriately.

To achieve this level of understanding GSTS undertook the following:

Development of a questionnaire which was distributed to over a 1,000 households (PDF Version).
Creation of a database to allow information to be quickly assimilated as required.
Production of various database driven reports to identify key information (Example report).

Development of a simple web page and associated email address to provide electronic gathering of information.

The Welsh Assembly Government asked to use the product description and questionnaire documents as a basis for documents to help communities across Wales develop their own rural broadband services.

Develop the People Network

GSTS developed a core network of people who were able to give their views and offer advice whenever needed. It was extremely important to make contact with other communities who were working with broadband suppliers so that we could share experiences and help each other out along the way. GSTS would recommend communities in Wales develop contacts in the following areas:

  • The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) - Both for help and guidance generally and to deal with queries regarding The Broadband Support Scheme.
  • FibreSpeed - The company supplying the high speed data network along the North Wales coast.
  • Village and County Councilors - To ensure that the Local Authorities know and understand what is happening and can help with and potential planning permission requests.
  • Other Communities - Essential for knowing what is happening elsewhere, picking up tips and sharing information. An excellent example of this was the Graigfechan village campaign who GSTS worked with closely during this project, sharing experience and progress between our communities. They produced a great website which detailed their experience and provided advice on all aspects of alternative broadband solutions including how to set up a campaign, understanding the technologies involved and getting second quotes for the Welsh Goverment's Broadband Support Scheme.
  • Community Champions - Get people in your community to help out as 'Champions' who will deliver information door-to-door, spread information by word of mouth and most importantly helping others in the community to fill out the Broadband Support Scheme application forms. By having some excellent Champions things get done much quicker and a 'buzz' is created. This is especially important if you have Champions with access to village magazines that can detail what is happening with your broadband project

Engage Potential Suppliers

GSTS had initial discussions with a number of suppliers to determine which of them could provide the community with a solution. A number of suppliers were discounted at this stage as not being able provide a true community service or due to the limitations of the technology used, which would not suit the geographical location.

Produce Proposals

GSTS asked suppliers to provide detailed proposal documents which clearly laid out what they were offering, their costs, services and business case information. This allowed an 'apples against apples' comparison. GSTS reviewed every supplier's proposal to ensure that there was a consistency of information contained within each one so every supplier had covered all areas required before they were submitted to the Selection Panel.

Supplier Selection and Announcement

GSTS received the outcome of the selection process and then contacted the respondents to the broadband questionnaire via email to inform them of the winner. Press coverage and website updates have been arranged to get the information out to the community detailing the products available and how to sign up for the service.

The Winner was... AB Internet

We were very happy to announce that AB Internet was chosen as the preferred supplier of the community broadband solution to Treuddyn and the surrounding villages.

AB Internet wireless broadband packages were extremely compeditively priced, the infrastructure supporting the technology was proven, robust and most importantly, did not require a large capital outlay for the community to install.

Many, Many thanks to everyone who supported GSTS during the project. To all the people in the community who helped with ideas, advice, doing the footwork and knocking on doors, those who turned up to meetings and wrote updates in the community magazines, GSTS salutes you.

Also to those from other communities, WAG and FibreSpeed who helped in so many ways - thank you.

Gary Short

GSTS Project Completion

As the project moved onto a Sales and Implementation phase GSTS completed its exit activities. These were:Wireless Ariel

Inform the people network of GSTS completing its activities.

Remove all information held on the GSTS Broadband database in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Update the Survey website information to indicate it is no longer functioning and remove over time.

Review project goals and objectives.

Seek feedback from stakeholders regarding GSTS performance.

As shown above right - Customers can get wireless broadband via the installation of one little diamond shaped receiver on their property (picture taken of an installation in Treuddyn). Wireless broadband is 'beamed' to Treuddyn and the surrounding community from a transmitter in the town of Mold.