Tresco To Set Up Private Broadband Network

New Grimsby Harbour, Tresco

Tresco Estate has been granted planning permission for an aerial that will provide that island, and two locations on Bryher, with their own broadband network.

However, in his report, the Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden, expressed concerns that this could threaten the viability of the superfast broadband scheme planned for the whole of Scilly.

The Estate had applied to construct a 5m high lattice steel tower between water tanks on Vane Hill as well as attach 24cm square dishes to Tresco Abbey, the Heliport, the Garden Visitor Centre, the Quay Shop and the New Inn, as well as Hell Bay Hotel and the Fire Station on Bryher.

Craig felt that the construction was permissible and recommended that the scheme be approved.

Councillor John Goddard wondered why everyone with broadband on the islands didn’t have similar 5m high aerials, but it was pointed out that this was to provide a specific network to Tresco and Bryher.

John also commented that the tower looked like a windmill and hoped this wouldn’t lead to more applications for those.

However, Councillor Richard McCarthy wanted clarification from Craig about the potential impact of this scheme on the viability of superfast broadband provision for the whole of Scilly.

BT has said that they need to reach a certain level of uptake of the proposed fibre-based broadband on the islands to make it viable and this could reduce the number of subscribers.

Craig said this was a potential issue, but local planning authorities can’t prevent competition between telecoms providers, so this was not a material concern for this planning application.

Councillors approved the scheme.