Fibre Arrives In The Isles Of Scilly

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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First superfast broadband customers on the islands are connected after an unused undersea cable was diverted

Residents and businesses on the Isles of Scilly can now receive superfast broadband following the completion of an project by BT and Superfast Cornwall to lay fibre on the islands, located 28 miles off the Cornish coast.

Fibre has been deployed on all five of the inhabited islands, with undersea cables linking St Mary’s, Tresco and Bryher, and microwave links connecting St Agnes and St Martins.

However the most ambitious component of the rollout, funded by the £132 million Superfast Cornwall project, involved diverting an unused 939 kilometre undersea fibre cable between to the UK and Spain toward the archipelago.

Isles of Scilly fibre

isles of scilly cornwall broadband © James LePage ShutterstockA cable ship cut the cable in two places, located about 100km and 15km off the coast of Lands’ End, before pulling it towards the shore and connecting it to the local network.

Until now, the island has relied on a phone and Internet service powered by a radio link from the mainland and local leaders claiming the service can revitalise the local economy, enhance residents’ quality of life and change working habits.

“The arrival of superfast fibre optic broadband demonstrates that good partnership working can overcome significant challenges,” said Councillor Amanda Martin, Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly. “I am proud that we are now one of the best connected archipelagos in the world.”

“The arrival of fibre broadband on the Isles of Scilly, England’s most remote community, is a landmark event,” added Gavin Patterson, BT CEO. “It is a wonderful example of what is being achieved by BT in partnership with the public sector to bring this exciting technology to locations across the UK, which would have been considered beyond reach just a few years ago.

“The recent arrival of fibre broadband in remote UK locations as far afield as the Isles of Scilly and Shetland shows our commitment to overcoming the challenges and making fibre broadband as widely available as possible – and that we are doing so in an environmentally friendly way in a spirit of close cooperation with local communities.”

Superfast Cornwall is funded by BT and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is aiming to connect 95 percent of the county by the end of 2015.

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