First rural broadband cabinet goes live as part of multi million pound Isle of Wight fibre broadband project

The first cabinet to be fully connected as part of the Isle of Wight’s multi-million pound rural superfast fibre broadband project has now gone live, it has been announced today (27 August).

More than 240 residents and businesses will be able to benefit from connection to the cabinet in Farriers Way, Shorwell. Homes and businesses will be able to order fibre broadband services from broadband providers within the next few days.

Among the first local residents to benefit from the service will be David Lumley, employed by a multi-national company in IT and who works from home in Shorwell one day a week. He said: “This will make a massive difference for both myself and my wife. We are big internet users and this will enable us to work far faster and more efficiently.

“As well as the major work benefits for both of us it will also be a great help with everyday things such as streaming television programmes and online shopping, as well as booking holidays and family history research. It will also be a real help with contacting our children on the mainland and relatives overseas.”

Pamela Wynn, landlady of The Crown Inn at Shorwell is also looking forward to the benefits of the project.

She said: “We use the internet for our till operation and to offer free wi-fi to customers, so greatly improved access and speeds will be a real boost to us as a business. Until now, access and speeds have been quite frustrating.

“This project will give us the opportunity to confidently expand the business in terms of offering business meetings and small conferences which require full internet and wi-fi facilities.”

Shorwell is in the first phase of communities to be connected under the major infrastructure project - a partnership between the Isle of Wight Council, BT and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Other communities in phase one this summer are parts of Gurnard, Whippingham, Brighstone and Merstone.

BT has been working closely with Island Roads in planning the installation works.

The new fibre-based network will be open to all broadband internet service providers on an equal basis, so customers – both domestic and business - will have access to a wide choice of broadband providers.

Once completed in autumn 2015, the overall project will have enabled around 20,000 premises in the largely rural parts of the Island to access high speed broadband - making the Island one of the best connected areas in the UK. When combined with BT’s commercial roll out, 95 per cent of Island homes will have access to a superfast broadband connection.

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 UK government through the BDUK programme. BT is contributing capital and ongoing revenue funding of £2.7 million towards the overall cost of the broadband partnership.

Isle of Wight Council Executive member for economy and tourism, Councillor Shirley Smart, said: “This is terrific news that the first cabinet has gone live. We can now look forward to many residents and businesses in rural areas being connected up over the coming months.

“This will bring significant benefits to people in these areas and should over time assist with attracting inward investment and providing a real boost for business and tourism.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “This is great news for Shorwell and the Isle of Wight. The broadband partnership will ensure more households are able to benefit from high-speed broadband, whether they are using the internet for research and online training or just browsing for entertainment and leisure purposes. This announcement builds on BT’s commercial investment, which has already made the 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.”

Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “This fantastic news marks the next stage of a remarkable transformation of broadband on the Isle of Wight and we’re on track to deliver access to superfast speeds to 95 per cent of UK homes and businesses by 2017. We understand how important access to superfast broadband is - the UK already does more business online than any other European country, and the widespread access to superfast broadband that this scheme will deliver will provide a tremendous boost to the Island’s economy.”

More information is also available from the Isle of Wight Council by visiting iwight.com


Notes to news desks:

1. The media are invited to send reporters and photographers to the formal launch of the first cabinet ‘going live’ in Farriers Way, Shorwell on Wednesday 27 August at 11am.
2. The launch will be attended by representatives from BT, the Isle of Wight Council and local residents and businesses due to benefit from the first cabinet.

For more information please contact the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All our 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 make fibre broadband available 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 at least 24mbps post project.

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