Scilly To Be Amongst Best Connected Islands In The World
The Isles of Scilly are set to become some of the best connected islands in the world in what’s been described as the most ambitious project ever undertaken in the UK to bring superfast broadband to a remote community.
Superfast Cornwall, the £132m initiative between the European Union, BT and Cornwall Council, has announced that fibre optic cables, which have remained unused on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean for about three years, are to be diverted to Scilly.
The scheme is expected to cost £3.7m with the first customers being connected during the first half of 2014.
A cable ship is due to spend about a month later this year cutting and moving the two cables, which had previously been used for communications between the UK, Ireland and Spain.
Until now, the islands have had to make do with a broadband service provided by a radio link with Land’s End.
Diana Mompoloki from the Council’s economic development team has pushed hard for a fibre optic connection to the islands and described the news as “incredibly exciting.”
She said the Council will now be working with Superfast Cornwall and BT on the roll out but will also be supporting businesses in Scilly to access support designed to help them make the best of this opportunity.
Council chairman Mike Hicks said he was delighted that a solution has been found to give our islands the best broadband access.
“The Isles of Scilly’s communications with the UK mainland and beyond are a key part of creating a better, more prosperous future for islanders and will allow this vibrant community to take full advantage of its unique location,” said Mike
Mike added that faster broadband will underpin our tourist trade, will help our farmers and growers and will promote distance learning.
Ranulf Scarbrough, Superfast Cornwall programme director said BT engineers have devised a highly innovative and environmentally-friendly scheme to bring fibre optic broadband to the islands that is pioneering in every sense of the word.
He said it’s excellent news that new life can be given to existing cables, which are no longer used, but still in very good condition.
“It is certainly the most ambitious initiative of its kind ever undertaken in UK waters and probably in Europe,” he said.
“Superfast Cornwall has raised the bar again by showing that fibre broadband can be brought to places that some thought impossible.”
The Superfast Cornwall project has already delivered high-speed fibre broadband to more than half of all Cornish homes and businesses.