Blog by: Jo Lilford, Llantwit Major resident and business owner
Let’s be honest: Llantwit Major is about to get disrupted. The roads will be dug up, there’ll be traffic lights, we’re probably going to get grumpy. The good news is, it’ll all be worth it.
Before I go into why, here’s full disclosure: I’m getting paid to write this blog. I work for myself, running a brand consultancy from my home office, here in Llantwit. Earlier this year I was invited to help develop Ogi, a new Welsh internet provider with a strong community focus. They have big plans: they’re setting out to offer us a Welsh alternative to Wales’ creaking internet infrastructure. In fact, they’re laying brand new super-powerful full-fibre internet infrastructure across Wales with the aim of serving the needs of real people and businesses, community by community. It’s been a pretty exciting project to be part of. So I was pretty interested when I heard that their first target areas were Abergavenny, Haverfordwest and, you guessed it, Llantwit Major.
But you can’t, as they say, make an omelette without breaking eggs. So Ogi are installing brand new full fibre cables that are going to revolutionise our internet locally for a very long time – but that means digging up some roads.
I’ve been running my home business for almost a decade and in that time, I’ve changed internet provider time after time, after time. With each sign up, I hoped I was opting into something better, more stable, a bit faster. Each time, I found myself disappointed, yet again, by the reality: continuous crashing and whirling ‘loading’ wheels. As everyone in my street got home from work, switched the telly on, starting streaming, gaming, online shopping, the internet slowed down – and I never understood why. For my business, it’s a headache – I work all over the world and am frequently in meetings with clients in the USA or other parts of the globe after 4pm running well into the evening. Those meetings are peppered with ‘Your internet connection is unstable’ messages, before my connection drops out, yet again.
What I hadn’t realised was, it’s the line between the green box on Boverton Rd and my house that’s the problem. And that’s the bit none of my previous internet providers have taken care of. Copper wires, probably older than me (and I’m the wrong side of fifty) trying to handle modern loads. So if you were to take my own family – daughter watching telly, husband sorting out online orders for his microbrewery on his mobile, teenage son gaming, me working, maybe a bit of live streaming if I’m working on moving files – and you multiply that, by all the houses on our street, that tiny copper cable, originally put in for a few home phone lines, is massively overcrowded. Together, we cause a big old internet traffic jam.
And that’s what Ogi’s changing. So, in Llantwit, people who sign up will get full-fibre cables that totally bypass the green box and all the other old lines that are currently there. It’ll come right up to our doorsteps, like a private internet superhighway. For those of us running businesses in Llantwit, it’ll be brilliant: no more internet dropping out all the time on wireless payments or other activities.
For us as a family, it makes total sense: great for business, great for home life and great if everyone’s online at once. Lockdown was a real test and were it ever to happen again, I’d certainly welcome better internet for online school and for leisure for the whole family. And they offer different packages for different types of user – so if you live alone or you don’t use the internet much you can opt for the smaller package, right up to massive capacity for people running Hollywood from their front room. It’s actually cheaper than my current service. For us, it’s a no brainer – I’m going to give it a whirl.