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Isle of Wight reaches 99 per cent fibre broadband coverage

Press Release   •   May 25, 2016 10:34 BST

Picture of the Isle of Wight stylized with fibre broadband

One of the best connected areas in the UK

The Isle of Wight’s multi million pound rural broadband project has been successfully completed with fibre broadband now available to 99 per cent of households and businesses on the island – making it one of the best connected areas in the UK.

The partnership between the Isle of Wight Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme today announced it had achieved its target of reaching more than 20,000 Isle of Wight premises.

When combined with the 51,000 premises reached by the private sector’s commercial rollout of the technology, it means the Island now has 99 per cent fibre coverage.

Demand for fibre has also been gathering momentum as more superfast broadband cabinets have been installed across the Island. The number of households and businesses using the new high-speed technology in locations covered by the project has already reached more than 4,200.

One business benefitting from the new superfast internet speeds is the Seaview Hotel. Tracy Mikich, Seaview Hotel manager, said: “Since investing in high-speed broadband our hotel business has become more attractive and we’ve also seen cost savings. Our hotel enjoys speed in excess of 70Mbps and we are also able to offer free wi-fi to our guests and customers.”

Councillor Shirley Smart, Isle of Wight Council Executive member with responsibility for the rural broadband project, said: “I am more than delighted that we have reached the target of 20,000 homes and businesses in mainly rural areas now having access. We are also greatly encouraged that over the past 20 months, as the cabinets have been installed and gone live across the Island, more and more rural homes and businesses have been taking advantage of their new access. This is great progress for those in rural areas, and combined with the commercial rollout, it ensures the Island is one of the best places in the UK for high-speed broadband coverage. Looking to the future it means the Island is extremely well-placed in terms of connectivity for its residents, visitors and businesses.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “Today marks an important milestone for the faster broadband revolution on the Island, with 99 per cent of Isle of Wight homes and businesses having access to fibre broadband. The ‘Tech Island’ is shaping up to be one of the best connected areas in the UK. This exciting technology is transforming the opportunities for communities across the Isle of Wight and the UK as a whole. Successful broadband partnerships are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a key role in the future prosperity of communities for many years to come.”

Since the beginning of the broadband partnership, 109 rural fibre broadband cabinets have ‘gone live’ around the Island.

The multi-million pound rural broadband partnership is jointly funded by the Isle of Wight Council, which has been investing £2.4 million to match the funding provided by the UK government through the Broadband Delivery UK programme - and BT, which was contributing capital and ongoing revenue funding of £2.7 million.

The new fibre-based network is open to all broadband internet service providers on an equal basis, so customers – both residential and business - have access to a wide choice of broadband providers.

More information on the Isle of Wight project and the availability of fibre broadband can be found at: www.iwight.com/broadband


ENDS

Photos for UK BDUK fibre broadband partnerships can be accessed here.


About Isle of Wight partnership

The Isle of Wight Council Cabinet appointed BT in September 2013 as the preferred supplier to put in place Next Generation Access (NGA) infrastructure to make fibre broadband available to an estimated 20,000 premises in a mainly rural ‘intervention area’ across the Island - where there is no commercial case for the provision of such infrastructure.

In its decision to appoint BT, the Cabinet set out stringent requirements:

  • 99 per cent of Island premises to have NGA infrastructure.
  • 90 per cent of premises in the intervention area to have immediate access to superfast broadband speeds of at least 24Mbps post project.


About Openreach

Openreach is responsible for the last mile of the UK access network – the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.


About BDUK

Superfast Britain is a UK government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:

  • £780 million to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.
  • £150 million to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities.
  • £150 million to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services.

Administered on behalf of government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.

For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services.With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com