‘Gigabit Island’ Wightfibre secures £35m investment
To deliver Ultrafast Broadband to 50,000 Homes & Businesses
WightFibre has unveiled plans for a “full-fibre, future proof, ultrafast broadband network” across the Isle of Wight which will deliver some of the fastest speeds in the world. Up to 1Gb (1,000Mb) or faster will be made available to over 50,000 homes and businesses across the Island, including areas not previously served by WightFibre.
The £35m boost is backed by investment manager Infracapital and is supported by the government’s Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund. WightFibre is the first company in the country to receive investment from the new fund which was launched by HM Treasury in July this year. The investment will safeguard 34 jobs and create around new 20 permanent jobs at WightFibre, with 120 temporary jobs also created during the build phase of the new network.
The full-fibre broadband network uses fibre optic cabling all the way from the exchange into the home. The existing broadband infrastructure on the island uses fibre to the cabinet but then copper twisted pair from the cabinet to the home.
WightFibre’s chief executive officer, John Irvine, said: “Just 10 years ago few of us could have imagined just how much we would all be using the internet both at home and work. Traditional copper networks have struggled to keep up with demand. The new WightFibre full-fibre network will be capable of handling the Island’s broadband demands for decades to come, catapulting the island into the front line of the new digital economy”.
James Harraway, Director of Infracapital, commented: “We are extremely pleased to announce our investment in WightFibre. This is the first investment by Digital Infrastructure Investment Partners, jointly with Infracapital’s Greenfield strategy, WightFibre has a strong local brand and has a proven capability to deliver good service and fast broadband to homes and businesses on the Isle of Wight, and we look forward to supporting the expansion of its network, to the benefit of customers island-wide”.
Chris Ashman, Director of Regeneration for the Isle of Wight Council, commented, “The Isle of Wight Council was delighted to support WightFibre in securing this investment and I am pleased that this announcement could be made at the inaugural Digital Solent conference. Good broadband infrastructure is an important factor in attracting new investment and new jobs to the island, and sits alongside the aspirations we have for our emerging Island digital strategy. This investment in WightFibre will make the Island an even more attractive place to live and work for companies considering setting up here”.
from T Stroud/ Invest Isle of Wight / Initiative by Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce 8th Nov 2017.