“Most Ambitious” Scilly Superfast Broadband Goes Live

BT say that Scilly’s superfast broadband project is one of the most ambitious schemes to bring a fibre internet connection to a remote community. Island residents now have access to broadband speeds up to 80Mbps. That’s ten times faster than the previous maximum of up to 8Mbps.

A 939 kilometre cable between Porthcurno, Cornwall, and Santander in Spain, which had remained unused on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean since 2006, was diverted to Scilly during a month-long operation involving the 12,184 tonne cable ship Resolute.

Engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, also installed a new network on the isles and built new links between the five inhabited islands. New fibre optic cables have been laid from St Mary’s to Tresco and between Tresco and Bryher. New microwave radio links have been used to provide the same fibre broadband services for St Agnes and St Martin’s.

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive of BT was unable to make it to Scilly on Friday as fog preventing flights from landing. In a statement, he says that this is "a landmark event" and that the project offers "a wonderful example" of what is being achieved by public and private partnership.

Nigel Ashcroft MBE, Superfast Cornwall programme director for Cornwall Development Company, which is part of Cornwall Council, says “There has been huge interest in this project by the people of the Scilly. It represents one of the largest single investments ever undertaken on these remote isles". Nigel says "This exciting technology will reinforce the isles’ reputation as a hotspot for homeworking."

Amanda Martin, Chairman of the Council says " Superfast broadband has the potential to revitalise the islands’ economy and to enhance the quality of living and working arrangements in the Isles of Scilly. I am proud that we are now one of the best connected archipelagos in the world.”

St Mary’s flower farmer Andrew May says “The arrival of fibre broadband on Scilly is fantastic news for our flower farm business. It will allow us to have better communications with our customers, as well as save the business time and money by allowing us to streamline some of our business operations.

“We operate in an incredibly tough marketplace and high speed connectivity will allow us to improve the service to our customers, increasing our competitiveness. We will be able to grow the business, reaching out to new customers both nationally and internationally. This is likely to lead to extra jobs at Scented Narcissi over time and a bright outlook as we embrace the digital future.”

Zoe Parry of the Star Castle has welcomed the new faster internet that she has been able to use during pre-launch trials over the last week. Zoe says it has been faster to carry out everyday operations online, such as updating the hotel website.

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