First Isle of Wight communities to benefit from multi million pound rural fibre broadband project announced

The first communities set to benefit from the multi million pound rural fibre broadband partnership between the Isle of Wight Council and BT, were announced today (Monday). 

Work to connect the first rural communities for the partnership on the Isle of Wight will commence shortly, enabling some customers to place orders for high speed fibre broadband during summer 2014. 

The first communities to benefit from new rural fibre broadband infrastructure during the project’s first phase include parts of Shalfleet, Gurnard, Whippingham, Brighstone, Shorwell and Merstone. 

As the project gathers pace and more areas are connected, the council will provide the latest information on its website www.iwight.com. In addition, the website will detail all areas to be covered by the project via an interactive map. 

The overall project will have enabled around 20,000 premises in the largely rural parts of the Island to access high speed broadband when it is completed in the autumn of 2015, making the Island one of the best connected areas in the UK. 

The multi-million pound partnership is jointly funded by the Isle of Wight Council, which is investing £2.4 million in the project to match the funding provided by the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. 

Councillor Shirley Smart, Isle of Wight Council Executive member for economy and tourism, said: “This is an important investment for the council in supporting the Island’s connectivity to the mainland and indeed the world and as a springboard from which the Island’s economy can grow.” 

“Homes and businesses in some of our towns are already seeing the benefits of superfast broadband and we are delighted that work is starting to connect the largely rural parts of the Island. Having fast internet speeds across the whole Island is not only vital to the success of our small businesses, it is also key to attracting inward investment, one of the council’s key priorities. In addition, this investment will help us as we look at innovative ways of delivering more council services online, this is very important as the council looks to make financial savings over the coming years.” 

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “This is great news for the Isle of Wight. BT has committed £2.7m to build and operate the network across the Isle of Wight for the lifetime of the contract. Today’s announcement builds on BT’s commercial investment, which has already made fibre broadband available to around 49,000 premises, mainly in the Island’s towns. Faster broadband will also help local businesses grow, attracting inward investment and boosting the local economy.” 

The new fibre-based network is open to all broadband providers on an equal basis, so customers will have a choice of broadband suppliers. Households and businesses on the Isle of Wight will therefore benefit from a competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of broadband providers. 

The technology will boost the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, whilst opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for households. 


For more information please contact the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be found at www.btplc.com/news 

About Isle of Wight partnership 
The Isle of Wight Council Cabinet appointed BT in September 2013 as the preferred supplier to put in place Next Generation Access (NGA) infrastructure to deliver superfast broadband to an estimated 20,000 premises in a mainly rural ‘intervention area’ across the Island - where there is no commercial case for the provision of such infrastructure. 
In its decision to appoint BT, the Cabinet set out stringent requirements to be met in the final contract and to be achieved by September 2015: 
• 99 per cent of Island premises to have NGA infrastructure. 
• 90 per cent of premises in the intervention area to have immediate access to superfast broadband speeds of 24mbps post project. 
Once the infrastructure is in place, the network will be open to all communications providers on an equal basis, and more than 100 different providers are offering services to consumers and businesses over it. 
About Openreach 
Openreach is responsible for the first mile of the UK access network - the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. 

Openreach leads the deployment of BT Group’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre, delivering fibre broadband services to communities across the UK as well as installing and maintaining the communications infrastructure that links homes, businesses, public and voluntary sector organisations to their communications providers' networks. 

About BDUK 

Superfast Britain is a UK government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements: 

• £780 million to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017. 
• £150 million to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities. 
• £150 million to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services. 

Administered on behalf of government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. 

For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk