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Isle of Wight broadband project reaches thousands more rural homes

Thursday, May 28th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

More than 12,000 homes and businesses on the Isle of Wight now have access to high speed broadband thanks to the island’s rural fibre broadband project.

Fibre broadband cabinets have been, and are continuing to be, installed in locations across the island, including rural areas, bringing faster speeds to residents and businesses.

A major switch-on of 13 cabinets has taken place in Freshwater, allowing more than 3,600 homes and businesses to place orders for high speed broadband.

Access has also recently been provided in parts of Wootton, Bembridge, St Helens, Seaview, Niton, Godshill and Rookley, as well as some areas of Ryde, Newport, Cowes and Sandown, which were outside BT’s commercial fibre rollout.

Parts of Shorwell, Brighstone, Gurnard and Whippingham had already been connected, and work on installing new cabinets is continuing in Chillerton, Chale Green and Ventnor.

The rural broadband partnership is jointly funded by the Isle of Wight Council – which is investing £2.4m to match government funding provided through the BDUK programme – and BT, which is giving funding of £2.7m.

So far, 60 cabinets have gone live around the island, giving access to more than 12,000 premises.

Access to fibre

By completion, a total of 130 structures – including fibre-enabled street cabinets – will have been installed, bringing superfast access to some 20,000 premises.

Combined with the commercial fibre rollout, it means 99% of island homes and businesses will have access to fibre broadband.

Isle of Wight Council executive member for economy and tourism, Councillor Shirley Smart, said: “This major switch-on at Freshwater and in many other locations shows the project is progressing well and giving more and more homes and businesses access to high speed broadband.

“We would encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of the service and the benefits it can bring, particularly with the hope that over time, it will assist with attracting inward investment and providing a real boost for business and tourism.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, added: “This milestone marks great progress in the rollout of fibre broadband on the Isle of Wight.

“On the island more than 63,000 homes and businesses now have access to high-speed fibre broadband thanks to this multi-million pound partnership and BT’s own commercial fibre broadband programme.

“Working in partnership with councils such as the Isle of Wight, we have been able to reach into the heart of hundreds of communities that have so far been beyond the reach of this vital technology.“

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