Fibre Optic Cable For Fast Broadband Still An Option

Scilly's current broadband microwave link based at Telegraph

Scilly’s current broadband microwave link based at Telegraph

BT and the Council’s Economic Development team say there is still a plan to provide superfast broadband by laying a fibre optic cable to the mainland.

Council staff met with the team behind the Superfast Cornwall project last Friday. The £53m European funded scheme is being delivered by BT and has promised a significant enhancement of our islands’ broadband infrastructure.

Some reports have suggested that a fixed connection is no longer likely, but Diana Mompoloki from the Council and BT’s Jason Mann both say that an undersea cable remains the favoured option.

Jason says the Superfast Cornwall project team has also researched using satellite to feed our broadband network. But there are concerns that may be susceptible to delay issues, which could affect web cameras and Skype chatting.

Jason says discussions continue with the Crown Estate Commissioners over crossing their seabed with a cable. We understand that the Crown Estate wants a significant payment for cable access that could jeopardise laying a cable.

The current internet connection to the mainland for St Mary’s, Bryher and St Agnes subscribers is made by a microwave link in to the Telegraph exchange. It offers a lower capacity and speed than a physical link.

The connection rate falls with distance from the exchange and whilst Telegraph residents can achieve downloads of up to 6Mbps, that falls off steadily to around 1Mbps in parts of Hugh Town and on the off-islands.

A fibre optic cable could give us speeds of up to 100Mbps.

If a cable cannot be used, Jason Mann says a broadband regenerator could be employed.

This is a new technology that improves broadband performance where speeds are below 2Mbps. Speed improvements could be substantial and trials will determine what can be achieved in practice.



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