A major investment in a new fibre network will provide "fast, stable and reliable connections" for every household in the island, according to those behind £37.5m plans to make Guernsey a digital leader.
Sure will deliver a cutting-edge fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband network, which will directly reach every property in Guernsey with a faster, more reliable connection and offer the possibility of 1 gigabit-per-second coverage.
Representing a £37.5m total investment, the project will begin next year with a targeted completion date of 2026.
The States Assembly is being asked to support a capped investment in the new digital infrastructure of up to £12.5m, to accelerate the fibre roll-out and help ensure full, island-wide coverage.
Sure Chief Executive Justin Bellinger said the investment will create around 75 new jobs, while the impact of faster broadband on the wider economy is anticipated to increase GDP by up to 1.1%.
Pictured: The contract will be finalised subject to the States agreeing the propositions whern P&R and Economic Development’s joint policy letter is debated by the States in October.
“Much of how we live is online, from communicating with loved ones, to working from home, to watching TV, or helping our children to learn,” said Mr Bellinger.
“The pandemic accelerated demand for broadband, bringing about huge changes in terms of working and learning from home as well as the take up of collaborative digital services such as video conference calling.
“Throughout the 125 years since telephones were first introduced to Guernsey, the Bailiwick has pushed the boundaries in communication and connectivity, and this investment marks the next step in our telecoms evolution.
“Guernsey Fibre will provide fast, stable, reliable connections into every property and facilitate working from home, high-end gaming, top-quality streaming, and multi-device households.”
Upgrading our infrastructure will mean that wherever you live, you will be certain that you’re getting a faster speed.”
Pictured: The technology being deployed in this network is a first in the Channel Islands, ensuring the network is future proofed to potentially deliver up to 10 gigabit-per-second, which represents speeds up to 500 times faster than today’s standard broadband. File pic.
Sure Group CEO Alistair Beak said the project will underpin Guernsey’s digital infrastructure and economy for decades to come. The proposed technology has the capability to increase speed to up to 10gbps in the future.
“As well as boosting long term economic growth Sure will be creating in the region of 75 additional jobs and directing the vast majority of the £37.5m spend through local suppliers.
“The partial funding from the States of Guernsey will have a significant impact in ensuring island wide coverage and an accelerated roll out within five years.”
A joint Policy & Resources and Economic Development policy letter is being submitted setting out the case for this “transformative investment in Guernsey’s digital infrastructure.”
“Following the election we made this a priority,” said Chief Minister Peter Ferbrache.
“Businesses, the wider community and indeed government have told us that we need to accelerate the roll-out of fibre so that our digital infrastructure is faster, more resilient and accessible to all. We’ve listened and acted on this."
Pictured: Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, Economic Development Lead for Digital, Skills and Entrepreneurship, said Sure has been an important partner in many aspects of the States’ digital framework to date, adding: “I look forward to using this piece of work as a platform on which to develop digital inclusion and digital skills further, with Sure.”
He continued: “If the States Assembly agrees this investment, the accelerated roll-out will begin before the end of this year, be finished in 2026, and no-one in our community will be left behind. Importantly, it will also tell the world that Guernsey is investing in its future.”
Economic Development President Neil Inder said equity of access is critical to support digital inclusion, which is in turn vital to the long-term upskilling of Guernsey’s population.
“We must take our foot off the brakes and enhance Guernsey’s digital infrastructure quickly,” he said.
“Guernsey’s business representative bodies have emphasised the importance of increased resilience, speed and security to support business; the ongoing digital transformation of government services requires the same. Achieving the target in five years is in line with the quickest of roll-outs in other jurisdictions.”
Sure’s new fibre network will also be available to other telecommunications operators to access “on a fair and equitable basis, as regulated by the Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority, meaning that all customers will be able to choose their supplier for fibre.”
Pictured top: Deputy Mark Helyar, Deputy Neil Inder, Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, Alistair Beak (Sure CEO), Deputy Bob Murray and Justin Bellinger (Sure Guernsey Chief Executive).
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