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WightFibre’s Full Fibre Build Tops 30,000 Isle of Wight Premises

Monday, November 8th, 2021 (10:27 am) - Score 864
wightfibre_ftth_install_two_engineers

Broadband ISP WightFibre has revealed that their £85m project to deploy a new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across the Isle of Wight (South Coast of Hampshire, UK) has now covered “over” 30,000 premises, which is up from 26,000 in April (here), albeit still short of their 41,000 goal for the end of 2021.

The long-term goal of WightFibre, which is backed by investment from Infracapital (here) and NatWest Bank (here), is to achieve almost universal coverage of the island (c.70,000+ premises) by the end of 2025. But the operator’s deployment plan is known to have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and a shortage of fibre engineers.

NOTE: Infracapital also owns or has stakes in Gigaclear, Ogi, Neos Networks and Fibrus.

According to the provider’s CEO, John Irvine, the main focus of their full fibre expansion work in 2022 will be on West Wight region, which is the least populated part of the island and thus often more expensive too, as well as slower, to tackle.

The latest milestone on this front saw the operator lay a new cable across the River Yar, which forms part of a fibre optic ring around West Wight connecting Yarmouth, Freshwater, Totland and Brightstone to WightFibre’s new network. Work is due to commence in Freshwater and Yarmouth in the coming months.

John Irvine said:

“WightFibre has made great progress in building the UK’s first Gigabit Island on the Isle of Wight, having already made full-fibre broadband available to over 30,000 premises.

West Wight is often an after-thought in major infrastructure projects, but from the outset WightFibre have always planned to include West Wight in our rollout. This short cable under the River Yar is a major component of our rollout so that we have two routes to West Wight. This will ensure we can provide the most reliable service possible.

By the end of 2022 over 90% of homes in West Wight will be able to receive WightFibre full-fibre broadband”.

We should point out that laying fibre across the relatively short distance of a river can frequently be a disproportionately complicated affair, which may require various permissions (wayleaves etc.), public consultations and for special care of the natural habitat to be undertaken (including impact reports, flood risk assessments etc.). Suffice to say, crossing the River Yar was a bigger deal than it might first appear.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. chris conder says:

    They will do it. They have grit. Power to the people. And long live the Altnets.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Er as covered before here you can just directionally drill under a river and bypass all the enviromental concerns or wayleave issues from trying to reuse an existing bridge.

  3. Martin Shoebridge says:

    30,000 houses,a handful of customers. How long will it take for the investors see a return?

  4. Paul Evans says:

    I await FTTP in Roud near Godshill with frustration in that am unable to find a reasonable guesstimate of connection by whom i.e. Wight Fibre or Open Reach? Meantime we struggle with unreliable copper at a measly 7Mbps dl, 0.9Mbps ul. Hey ho could be worse.

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