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 has announced it has achieved its target of reaching more than 20,000 Isle of Wight premises.
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 benefiting from the new superfast internet speeds is the Seaview Hotel, Seaview. 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 BDUK 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 if your area has access is available at: www.iwight.com/broadband