Superfast Isles of Scilly

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Cable ship diverts subsea cable between UK and Spain to Isles of Scilly

One of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken in the UK to bring superfast broadband to a remote community will reach an important milestone today.

A major month-long operation is currently under way to divert a fibre optic cable between the UK and Spain to the Isles of Scilly in a pioneering scheme to give the islanders much faster fibre broadband.

The 939 kilometre cable between Porthcurno, Cornwall, and Santander, Spain, has remained unused on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean since it was taken out of service in 2006 after 11 years of handling high-speed international communications. The 12,184 tonne cable ship Resolute has cut the cable at two points in the Atlantic – about 100 kilometres and 15 kilometres off Lands End – and diverted a section to the Isles of Scilly. The 140 metre-long ship will be stationed off Porthcressa Beach on the main island, St Mary’s, whilst the cable is pulled ashore and linked to the local network on Scilly. It is expected that the islanders will be able to order high-speed fibre broadband before the end of the year.

Nigel Ashcroft MBE, the Project Manager for Superfast Cornwall and Operations Director Jeremy Steventon-Barnes at the Porthcressa Beach on the Isle of Scilly, as work has begin on a cable project that will deliver superfast broadband to the islanders. 23/07/2014
Nigel Ashcroft MBE, the Project Manager for Superfast Cornwall and Operations Director Jeremy Steventon-Barnes at the Porthcressa Beach on the Isle of Scilly, as work has begin on a cable project that will deliver superfast broadband to the islanders.

Until now, the 2,200 residents of the Isles of Scilly located 28 miles off the South West tip of Cornwall have relied upon a broadband service provided by a radio link between Lands End and the islands. People on all five of Isles of Scilly’s inhabited islands, famous for their remote Atlantic location and as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), are expected to benefit from the latest investment.

Nigel Ashcroft, Superfast Cornwall programme director for Cornwall Development Company, the economic development company of Cornwall Council, said: “The people of the Isles of Scilly, who have long been known for their spirit ofinnovation, are determined to make the most of this exciting technology. Superfast broadband will provide a major boost for local businesses and offer the kind of onlineopportunities, which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Businesses on Scilly might be located in one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the UK, but they will be right at the centre of the superfast broadband revolution in some of the best connected islands in the world.”

Amanda Martin, chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, said: “Superfast Broadband will create exciting opportunities for new and existing businesses. Its installation will also help our islands become more economically viable and provide benefits for future generations.”