Details Of Superfast Broadband For Scilly Still Unclear

Scilly's broadband is delivered by slow microwave link based at Telegraph

A year after the highly promoted Superfast Cornwall programme promised to bring islanders fast internet access, BT is still unable to say when Scilly will receive upgraded broadband or how fast it will be.

The partnership between Cornwall Council and BT, is aiming to bring fibre optic-based broadband to at least 80% of the population in Scilly and Cornwall by the end of 2014.

The total cost is £132m with £53m coming from the EU.

The participation of Scilly in the Superfast Cornwall programme helped draw down the EU funding because our isolation and low population level means an upgrade wouldn’t be commercially viable here.

Several areas of Cornwall have already been provided with this upgrade and the programme expects 43 out of 100 exchanges in Cornwall to be upgrade by the end of 2012.

We were told that Superfast broadband could give us speeds of up to 100Mbps but now BT say they don’t know how fast ours will be. They just say it will be faster.

Currently our broadband is beamed by microwave and speeds are limited, with many islanders struggling to achieve downloads of 1Mbps.

The Council believes the European cash will be used to bring us up to speed by laying a fibre optic cable to the mainland but Jason Mann, BT’s Press Officer for the Southwest, told us they haven’t decided how to do it yet.

Fibre optic links provide the fastest speeds, especially when connected directly into people’s homes rather than stopping at exchange boxes with older, copper wire making the final connections. Again, Mr Mann says they haven’t agreed whether the fibre optics will go to premises or to what they call the cabinet.

He repeated that the programme is “committed” to providing “faster” broadband for Scilly by the end of 2013, and said they would “look pretty stupid” if this wasn’t delivered after all the publicity surrounding the project.

But, it appears that the multimillion pound contracts have been signed without agreeing the specifics and details on what islands’ internet users can expect.

We asked to speak with the Superfast Cornwall boss but BT said he couldn’t add any further information.


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