More than 240 residents and businesses will be able to benefit from connection to the cabinet in Farriers Way, Shorwell. Homes and businesses will be able to order fibre broadband services from providers within the next few days.
Among the first local residents to benefit from the service will be David Lumley, employed by a multi-national company in IT and who works from home in Shorwell one day a week. He said:
“This will make a massive difference for both myself and my wife. We are big internet users and this will enable us to work far faster and more efficiently.
“As well as the major work benefits for both of us it will also be a great help with everyday things such as streaming television programmes and online shopping, as well as booking holidays and family history research. It will also be a real help with contacting our children on the mainland and relatives overseas.”
Pamela Wynn, landlady of The Crown Inn at Shorwell is also looking forward to the benefits of the project. She said:
“We use the internet for our till operation and to offer free wi-fi to customers, so greatly improved access and speeds will be a real boost to us as a business. Until now, access and speeds have been quite frustrating.
“This project will give us the opportunity to confidently expand the business in terms of offering business meetings and small conferences which require full internet and wi-fi facilities.”
Shorwell is in the first phase of communities to be connected under the major infrastructure project – a partnership between the Isle of Wight Council, BT and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.
Other communities in phase one this summer are parts of Gurnard, Whippingham, Brighstone and Merstone.
The new fibre-based network will be open to all broadband internet service providers on an equal basis, so customers – both domestic and business – will have access to a wide choice of broadband providers.
Once completed in autumn 2015, the overall project will have enabled around 20,000 premises in the largely rural parts of the Island to access high speed broadband – making the Island one of the best connected areas in the UK. When combined with BT’s commercial roll out, 95 per cent of Island homes will have access to a superfast broadband connection.
The multi-million pound partnership is jointly funded by the Isle of Wight Council, which is investing £2.4 million in the project to match the funding provided by the UK government through the BDUK programme. BT is contributing capital and ongoing revenue funding of £2.7 million towards the overall cost of the broadband partnership.
Isle of Wight Council Executive member for economy and tourism, Councillor Shirley Smart, said:
“This is terrific news that the first cabinet has gone live. We can now look forward to many residents and businesses in rural areas being connected up over the coming months.
“This will bring significant benefits to people in these areas and should over time assist with attracting inward investment and providing a real boost for business and tourism.”
Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said:
“This is great news for Shorwell and the Isle of Wight. The broadband partnership will ensure more households are able to benefit from high-speed broadband, whether they are using the internet for research and online training or just browsing for entertainment and leisure purposes. This announcement builds on BT’s commercial investment, which has already made the fibre broadband available to around 49,000 premises, mainly in the Island’s towns. Faster broadband will also help local businesses grow, attracting inward investment and boosting the local economy.”
More information is also available from the Isle of Wight Council by visiting iwight.com.
Photograph: Cllr Shirley Smart with BT’s Pete Cowen earlier this year on the unveiling of the joint project