Jersey, Guernsey To Get Broadband Boost

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Jersey homes will get access to fibre-based broadband by December, while Guernsey’s mobile broadband speeds are to double

The Channel Island Jersey is set to receive a major fibre broadband upgrade as part of an £11 million investment programme by the JT Group, which owns both Jersey Telecom and Guernsey’s Wave Telecom. JT Group is also investing in an upgrade to Guernsey’s mobile data network.

The ‘next-generation network’ programme will see maximum broadband speeds more than double for customers of Jersey Telecom, Sure and Newtel, from 8Mbps to 20Mbps.

Broadband boost

Twenty-five percent of homes are expected to receive the higher speeds by December, with wide availability by 2012, according to JT Group. Pricing is to be announced in the next few weeks.

The investment is part of JT Group’s ‘Gigabit Isles’ programme that is intended to make Jersey a world-class telecommunications hub.

By 2012 more than half of Jersey’s households will have access to maximum broadband speeds of between 15Mbps and 20Mbps, JT Group said.

The operator’s chief executive, Graeme Millar, said the investment should put Jersey 10 to 15 years ahead of the UK by 2012.

In Guernsey, trials of fibre broadband will begin in 2011, according to JT Group.

The operator also said it is to double speeds on Guernsey’s Super Fast Mobile Broadband network from 7.2Mbps to 14.4Mbps before the end of the year.

UK upgrades

On the mainland, BT in May pledged to invest £2.5bn in rolling out fibre to around two thirds of UK homes by 2015. The company still plans to manage this deployment within its current level of capital expenditure. However, BT executives have stressed that public sector support will be required for exchanges in the “final third” of the UK, where deploying fibre is not commercially viable.

Meanwhile, the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills plans to publish a broadband strategy paper in December, following the news last month that the government will invest £530 million in the improvement of the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

In October BT launched a competition designed to assess the demand for fibre optic broadband in different areas of the country by gathering votes from potential subscribers. Known as the “Race to Infinity,” the five exchanges that show the greatest demand will be provided with fibre broadband by early 2012, according to BT. It will also help the company to identify “hot spots,” where demand for fibre broadband is high.

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