£12.5 million will be invested by the States to accelerate the installation of Sure’s new island-wide fibre broadband network.
Sure will begin installing 'Guernsey Fibre' early next year and the project is due to be completed by 2026.
It represents a total £37.5m investment in Guernsey’s connectivity, with the company paying for two-thirds of that and the public purse covering the rest. It is predicted that multiplying broadband speeds by up to 500 times and increasing reliability will lead to long-term GDP growth of 1%.
“Guernsey Fibre is going to bring faster speeds to all 30,000 households across the island and will support islanders’ increasingly digital lifestyles,” Sure Guernsey’s Chief Executive, Justin Bellinger, enthused.
“That means seamless working and learning from home and access to high-quality HD entertainment and gaming. Crucially, it also demonstrates Guernsey’s ability to compete in the digital age on an international scale.”
We welcomed some guests to Sure HQ this morning to discuss our plan to roll out fibre to every home in Guernsey, subject to states approval, at our 'Fibre and the Future' event. Thank you to everyone who attended. Visit: https://t.co/oQxVBlj2Ls #FibreAndTheFuture #GuernseyFibre pic.twitter.com/7LNcn2hHwc— Sure Guernsey (@SureGuernsey) October 13, 2021
Economic Development President Neil Inder viewed it as a significant investment in Guernsey’s future that will enable increased productivity across the board.
He sought to address concerns about Sure’s role in laying the network. The policy letter gave assurances that other telcos will be able to access the new fibre-to-the-premises network “on a fair and equitable basis” that is overseen by the Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority.
"Universality is key here - where everyone has the same ability to access the same services,” Deputy Inder elaborated.
“When we’re talking about Sure, we have to separate the network – that which we are expanding - from the retail arm. They will operate independently.”
Community liaison officers have been appointed and the commercial pilot launches on Tuesday 19 October. The order in which work will be carried out is yet to be determined. Customers will be contacted directly when they are able to receive a fibre connection to their home.
“What consumers will get is a much better service for the same cost,” said Deputy Inder.
“If people choose not to have telco engineers coming into their houses then there’s not much I can do about that. We have got to understand that eventually this copper [cabling] is finished in Guernsey within five years. So people can be awkward or they can play the game.”
Pictured: Deputy Charles Parkinson said that Guernsey will only attract young digital entreprenurs if the island sorts out its housing crisis and has the lifestyle choices to appeal to them.
One of the chief concerns is the disruption that will be caused by digging up many of the island’s roads.
Sure say this fibre network is a long-term investment and politicians working with the company say there is already 500km of fibre optic cables across the island.
“The key to road closures will be coordination,” said the Economic Development President.
“There will be some pain to be had in some areas but a good part of the network will be installed in existing ducts and where houses are currently served by overhead cables.
“There is a lot of glass beneath the roads in Guernsey - the difference is that some will not have had what they call ‘the final mile’ connected to your home. It does not mean that every single road will be dug up.”
Sure says that its community team will be in contact with households well in advance of any work so they know what to expect.
The States investment towards island-wide coverage was backed by all 36 deputies who were present for the vote.
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