BT have committed to bringing superfast broadband connections to the UK’s Isles of Scilly by 2014. Calling it the “the most ambitious UK project ever undertaken to bring fastest broadband speeds to a remote community”, the project is part of BT’s £132 million Superfast Cornwall scheme, bringing top-notch internet speeds to one of the most beautiful, yet remote, corners of the country.
The Isles of Scilly, home to 2,200 residents, will be connected up to BT’s fibre-optic network using dormant cabling that is currently sitting on the bed of the Atlantic ocean. The disused fibre-optic cabling had previously been used to aid communications between the UK, Ireland and Spain. Repurposing the cabling will cost £3.7 million, and will require a purpose-built ship that is able to cut and move the cabling to its new home.
Ranulf Scarbrough, Superfast Cornwall programme director for BT said: “The remote location of the Isles of Scilly, their wonderful maritime heritage and scientific and environmental status will present a variety of unique engineering challenges. Environmentally, it is excellent news that we are able to breathe new life into existing cables which are no longer used, but still in very good condition.”
At present, residents of the five inhabited islands currently only get internet access through a radio signal sent from Land’s End, 28 miles away. The new network will allow for BT’s superfast Infinity service to reach homes, offering up speeds in excess of 40Mbps.