Subsea Cable Diversion Brings Superfast Broadband To Isles Of Scilly


Isles of Scilly will be able to receive superfast broadband later this year after undersea fibre cable is diverted

The Isles of Scilly have moved one step closer to receiving superfast broadband following the diversion of an unused subsea cable between the UK and Spain towards the archipelago.

A cable ship has cut the cable, which travels between Porthcurno, Cornwall, and Santander, Spain, in two places, located about 100km and 15km off the coast of Lands’ End.

The 12,814 tonne, 140 foot long ship is set to travel to Porthcressa Beach on the main island of St Mary’s while the cable is pulled ashore and connected to the local network, a process which should take a month.

Isles of Scilly broadband

isles of scilly cornwall broadband © James LePage ShutterstockThe cable has was taken out of service in 2006 after 11 years of handling communications and the idea was first revealed last March.

Residents of the five inhabited islands have previously received broadband through a radio link from the mainland but should be able to access superfast broadband by the end of the year, bringing a wealth of social and economic benefits.

“Superfast Broadband will create exciting opportunities for new and existing businesses,” says Amanda Martin, chairman of the council of the Isles of Scilly. “Its installation will also help our islands become more economically viable and provide benefits for future generations.”

The operation is part of the £132 million Superfast Cornwall project, funded by BT, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cornwall Council, which aims to provide superfast broadband to 95 percent of the county and Isles of Scilly by the end of 2014.

Superfast Cornwall

“Superfast broadband will provide a major boost for local businesses and offer the kind of online opportunities, which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago,” claims Nigel Ascroft, Superfast Cornwall director for the Cornwall Development Company, the economic development arm of Cornwall Council. “Businesses on Scilly might be located in one of the most remote – and beautiful – parts of the UK, but they will be right at the centre of the superfast broadband revolution in some of the best connected islands in the world.”

BT, which is working to bring fibre to other remote parts of the UK through the government-funded Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative, says it is one of the most ambitious projects it has undertaken.

“Bringing superfast broadband to the Isles of Scilly is an immensely challenging project for a wide range of engineering and environmental reasons, and a big team from across BT is working with our public sector partners to make it happen,” explains Jeremy Steventon-Barnes, Superfast Cornwall operations director for BT. “The fact that we have been able to make use of an existing cable makes a great deal of sense from an environmental and cost point of view.”

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