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BT starts work on Scilly’s Superfast project

BT is carrying out preparations for its work on linking the Scilly Isles to the mainland with fibre optic cables.

The telco has began survey work as part of a £3.7 million scheme unveiled earlier in the year as part of the Superfast Cornwall project.

The link will use dormant fibre optic cables on the seabed last used three years ago.

Ranulf Scarbrough, Superfast Cornwall programme director for BT, described the project as “the most ambitious initiative of its kind ever undertaken in UK waters and probably in Europe”.

The plan will see cables linking UK with Spain and another linking Ireland being cut and redirected to the islands. BT will use a a robotic submarine and a specialised boat to carry out the task before bring the cable on-shore at different points in the community of St Mary’s, the main town on the archipelago. The multiple cables mean that should one get cut, the other will still provide fast broadband to residents.

Once completed people on the islands should get speeds of up to 80Mbps to their homes, more than the current 3 to 4Mbps. Fibre will come as far as roadside cabinets, from there it will travel the final few metres over conventional copper.

The telco is also offering businesses and organisations on the islands fibre to the door that will boost speeds up to 300Mbps, but will incur a one-off fee of £1,000.

The fibre service should be available in the first half of next year.

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