First rural broadband cabinets installed as part of multi million pound Isle of Wight fibre broadband project

The installation of the first cabinets for the Isle of Wight’s multi-million pound rural superfast fibre broadband project is now underway. 

More than 380 homes and businesses in parts of Shorwell and Shalfleet will be the first to benefit under phase one of the major infrastructure project, a partnership between the Isle of Wight Council, BT and the government’s Broadband Delivery
UK (BDUK) programme. The first customers will be able to place orders for high speed broadband this summer.

Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “This fantastic news marks the next stage of a remarkable transformation of broadband on the Isle of Wight, with an estimated 20,000 homes and businesses on the Island to gain access to superfast speeds by autumn next year. 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 Isle of Wight’s economy.”

The installation programme follows the recent delivery of the cabinets to BT’s Ryde depot. Once cabinets have been put in place they will then be connected to power sources and the fibre network.

As part of the contract, BT has been working closely with Island Roads in planning the installation works.

Also among the first communities to benefit from the programme this summer are parts of Gurnard, Whippingham, Brighstone and Merstone.

Altogether, more than 120 new pieces of equipment are due to be installed during the project.

The new fibre-based network is 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.

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.

Isle of Wight Council Executive member for economy and tourism, Councillor Shirley Smart was shown the new cabinets at BT’s Ryde depot by BT South East partnership director, Peter Cowen.

She said: “With the first cabinets being installed we are now very close to seeing the first customers being connected as part of this major investment project.

“This will provide significant benefits for business development on the Island in these communities, particularly in terms of activities such as web sales and supply, file transfer and telecare opportunities – and attracting inward investment to the Island. It should be of particular benefit to the Island’s very important tourism industry.

“Residents in these areas, meanwhile, will experience many benefits due to better connectivity, including activities such as streaming films, tv and music.

“This project is a major investment by the council in promoting the Island’s economy and will ensure fast internet speed in many rural areas - in addition, of course, to those homes and businesses in our towns which have already been seeing the benefits of superfast broadband.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “This is great news for the Isle of Wight. BT is contributing capital and ongoing revenue funding of £2.7 million towards the overall cost of the broadband partnership which 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 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.”


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 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 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 BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,287 million with reported profit before taxation of £2,312 million.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information visit: www.btplc.com

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

Notes to news desks:

Photos attached showing Isle of Wight Council Executive member for economy and tourism, Councillor Shirley Smart, with the new rural broadband cabinets at BT’s Ryde depot.