BTOpenreach has this week dispatched one of its survey teams to begin preliminary work on their previously announced £3.7m project to divert two unused submarine fibre optic cables to the Isles of Scilly (here), which will support the rollout of superfast broadband (FTTC and FTTP) ISP products on the islands.
At present the islands 2,200 residents have to suffer a slow and inadequate Microwave radio line that connects to south west England via Lands End. By comparison the new network would cut two undersea fibre optic cables (previously used to connect the UK with Ireland and Spain) and move them to link the islands via different points on St Mary's. Both cables link back to separate parts of Cornwall, which is good for redundancy.
The effort is part of the wider £132m Superfast Cornwall scheme, which is supported by £78.5 million from BT and up to £53.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It primarily aims to make superfast internet connectivity available to 95% of Cornwall’s local homes and businesses by the end of 2014.
It's understood that Openreach’s survey team, which will have a very tricky job, arrived this week on the freight ship Gry Maritha (this operates out of Penzance in Cornwall). Never the less Openreach still expects to connect the first customers via the new link during H1-2014.