Superfast Broadband Will ‘Kick Scilly Into The 21st Century’

Scilly's current broadband microwave link based at Telegraph

Scilly’s current broadband microwave link based at Telegraph

The introduction of superfast broadband to Scilly next year will offer potential for the islands’ young people and will allow people to start innovative businesses here.

That’s the view of Diana Mompoloki, from the Council’s economic development team.

Speaking after BT announced the £3.7m investment yesterday, Diana said the laying of the cable will, “kick us firmly into the 21st century.”

That’s a view echoed by St Agnes boatman John Peacock. He’s embraced web-based technology to provide real-time boat departure information and online booking.

John considers this, “the best bit of business news heard in Scilly for a number of years.” He says a more resilient internet connection will allow small enterprises to exploit the web to maximum benefit.

Dan Marcus, who heads up the Council’s IT team says the benefits of the faster connection, at least 40Mbps, will be noticeable on all of the islands. Currently off-islands can struggle with sluggish internet access, sometimes slower than 0.5Mbps, he told Radio Scilly.

From next year, hi-definition videoconferencing will be viable for telehealth consultations, during which patients are assessed with mainland-based consultations on a type of webcam. “It will be like you are in the room with the person,” Dan says.

The improvements will also benefit Lifelong Learning courses delivered from the mainland and the upgrade will be welcomed by the school, he said.

Two cables that were used to link the UK to Spain and Portugal will be rerouted from Porthcurno. One will come ashore at Porthcressa, the cable landing, and other upcountry on St Mary’s, feeding the Telegraph phone exchange.

It’s uncertain whether fibre optic cables will be offered directly to customers’ homes. That’s down to BT project planners and the available budget.

If that happens, speeds of up to 100mbps could be delivered but Diana says that the plan is to also offer that superfast access for businesses at the proposed Porthmellon Innovation Centre.

There will be some digging to lay new fibre optic cabling but Diana says ducts have already been laid in anticipation at the Porthcressa development and with the resurfaced road at Porthmellon.

The work should be completed within the next 12 to 18 months but not before environmental impact assessments are undertaken and permissions from the Marine Management Organisation are granted.

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