Broadband boost for villages

By Emily Pearce

Monday, May 12, 2014


THE first villages to benefit from a multi-million pound rural broadband project have been announced today (Monday).

Residents in parts of Shalfleet, Gurnard, Whippingham, Brighstone and Shorwell will be the first to receive high-speed broadband this summer, as part of an Isle of Wight Council scheme, in partnership with BT, to improve internet access in rural communities.

As previously reported, the council has invested £2.4 million in the project, to match the funding provided by the government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The council has pledged some 20,000 homes and businesses in largely rural parts of the Island will have access to high-speed broadband by next autumn, when the project is due to be completed. It said 90 per cent of those premises will receive broadband speeds of 24mbps.

The council's executive member for economy and tourism Cllr Shirley Smart said: "This is an important investment for the council in supporting the Island’s connectivity to the mainland, and indeed the world, and as a springboard from which the Island’s economy can grow.

"Homes and businesses in some of our towns are already seeing the benefits of superfast broadband and we are delighted work is starting to connect the largely rural parts of the Island. Having fast internet speeds across the whole Island is not only vital to the success of our small businesses, it is also key to attracting inward investment, one of the council’s key priorities.

"In addition, this investment will help us as we look at innovative ways of delivering more council services online. This is very important as the council looks to make financial savings over the coming years."

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: "This is great news for the Isle of Wight. BT has committed £2.7 million to build and operate the network across the Isle of Wight for the lifetime of the contract. Today’s announcement builds on BT’s commercial investment, which has already made fibre broadband available to around 49,000 premises, mainly in the Island’s towns."

The new fibre-based network will be open to all broadband providers on an equal basis, giving customers a choice of broadband suppliers.

As the project gathers pace and more areas are connected, the council will post the latest information on its website at



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Displaying the last 10 of 21 comments - Show All Comments

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by John Heelan

13th May 2014, at 13:57:27

Did not Clr Smart state: " Having fast internet speeds across the whole Island is not only vital to the success of our small businesses, it is also key to attracting inward investment, one of the council’s key priorities. "

This would suggest that as you point out , "A fast upload speed is most important for "teleworkers", for obvious reasons." is more than a little important to the Island economy that just enjoying social and entertainment uses of higher download speeds brining profits to companies off the Island.

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by James McAdder

13th May 2014, at 13:30:05

A high upload speed isn't of interest to most people, as most consumer's use of the internet is more concerned with downloading. A high and, more importantly, reliable download speed is most important for streaming video services, particularly now HD content is becoming common and 4K content is just around the corner.

As a rough, these are the sort of download speeds you will require for different standards of video:

SD:480p (Freeview quality) 2Mbps
HD:720p (BBC iPlayer HD) 4 to 5Mbps
HD:1080p(BluRay quality) 9Mbps
4K 15Mbps

So with a 20Mpbs connection you can have 10 people watching SD streams, 2 watching HD, or 1 watching 4K.

These are average speeds required for broadcast quality. Many codecs will deliver an SD stream over lower speeds (e.g. BBC iPlayer over 500Kbps), but quality suffers and compression artefacts (fuzzy, blurry edges) will be very obvious.

A fast upload speed is most important for "teleworkers", for obvious reasons.

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by Keith Hunnybun

13th May 2014, at 12:47:25

And here is where you'll find it Harry, lots of people arguing about things they know nothing about!

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by John Heelan

13th May 2014, at 10:22:59

Don't let the promised figures fool you. When BT promises massive speed increases it refers to DOWNLOAD speeds not UPLOAD speeds, the latter is usually a fraction of the former (my current BT speeds are <22 Mbs down and < 1 Mbs up!). BT will not commit to anything other than a vague "improvement" in upload speeds from the Supafast (sic!) tproject despite their being far more critical for some people..

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by David Blackford

13th May 2014, at 08:14:42

Hey Mike - My car is 15 years old! - guess what? - yes a Volvo of course. I could afford a brand new one tomorrow - but this one isn't worn out yet. (hope I'm not tempting providence!)
And I still imagine that it's no good having millions of MBs unless the person you are sending to also has similar.

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by T Rollingsworth

12th May 2014, at 21:28:29

BT can't even provide a decent connection to most the larger residential areas, good luck with this!!
Wightfibres wireless service is faster thn BT wired in some places! The contract should have gone to a local company who can actually deliver on their promises rather than go to BT in some obvious back room deal!

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by Mike Powell

12th May 2014, at 17:39:52

David Blackford I am still here you want to get a life, move with the times like it or not.

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by David Blackford

12th May 2014, at 16:29:24

Are you still there Mike P? - I do sometimes think back to those days of dial-up - life was more leisurely - no rushing around - no road rage if you slowed down for a pot-hole. Where is all this speed and rushing around getting us.
And I totally agree with Mat - Town-Hall full of amateurs - Whitehall too. This country is going to the dogs - or is that racism, insulting dogs

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by Mat Thomas

12th May 2014, at 14:55:56

Shirley Smart knows very little about economics, hence the statements above. It again shows the lack of expertise at county hall level.This has been one of a number of decisions poorly made and under the pressure of Stuart Love. Scrutiny of the project was held to a minimum. It also has shown again that the "scrutiny committee" doesn't know what it is doing either. There was no need for this at a time of austerity. We should not have had to stump up money we cannot afford to support the bid. BT have used their clout to gain lucrative contracts around the country, which have been exposed by MP's. If at all Wightfibre would have been better.
Most people would tell you that BT is not the right place to go. It again shows that decision making at the top is not as reliable as some think.

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by Richard Marlow

12th May 2014, at 14:04:37

Wightfibre already offer a fibre service at 120Mbps. Should be fast enough if you want it.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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