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New WightFibre Programme Brings FTTP to Community Hubs

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020 (9:50 am) - Score 1,412
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Broadband ISP WightFibre, which is deploying a 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) network across the Isle of Wight (South Coast of Hampshire, UK), has launched a “Connected Communities Programme” to help “fully or part fund” the installation and ongoing costs of bringing fibre to community hubs and charitable organisations.

At present the provider is investing around £85m (£35m from Infracapital and £50m from NatWest Bank) to ensure that their “full fibre” network covers 80% of the island by the end of 2022, which is then set to reach 96% by the end of 2025 (c.71,000 homes and businesses).

NOTE: WightFibre’s FTTP network has so far covered 20,000 premises (28%).

The provider now intends to support those efforts via their new Connected Communities Programme, which will help to extend FTTH to reach small to medium sized not-for-profit and community focused groups and charities across the Island (i.e. community hub locations and the offices of charitable organisations). Key to this will be WightFibre’s commitment to help part or fully fund such deployments and their ongoing costs.

In order to be eligible for this the organisations must have a permanent base on the Island (i.e. one located within WightFibre’s rapidly expanding network footprint) and an ability to demonstrate a focus on improving the lives of local people.

Daniel Taylor, Digital Inclusion Officer at WightFibre, said:

“I am really excited by the launch of this programme, which will work to support many Island charities and community groups as we expand our full-fibre network. Having worked at Age UKIW running a Lottery funded Digital Inclusion project I have not only seen first-hand the difference technology can make to people’s lives, but also the challenges faced by groups working across our community.”

John Irvine, CEO of WightFibre, added:

“Working with and supporting the Island’s communities has always been a key part of our ‘because we care’ ethos, something which is at the heart of the company’s identity and now even more important during the COIVID-19 pandemic. Connected Communities is also one more step on the way to making the Island one of the best connected places in the world for everyone who lives here.”

We’ve seen plenty of programmes and voucher schemes that help to fund the installation costs for such deployments, although very few of those have also committed to support rental and other ongoing costs. The press release doesn’t mention whether or not there is a time limit on such support.

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