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Nearly all right: BT brings superfast broadband to 99 per cent of the Isle of Wight

BT has made superfast broadband available to around 99 per cent of homes and businesses on the Isle of Wight. 

The near-total availability of superfast services means that most islanders can now sign up for services delivering download speeds of at least 25Mbps, going by the UK government’s definition of what constitutes ‘superfast’. 

In the great majority of cases, this means that customers will be able to order FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)-based services, which in theory deliver top download speeds of 80Mbps. 

As with ADSL services, the top speed you’ll actually get depends on the distance between your house or business and that street cabinet; the longer that last mile of copper is, the less bandwidth you’ll be able to get. 

How does your current service compare to 76Mbps or 152Mbps? Take our broadband speed testFortunately for some, a quick look at SamKnows reveals that some properties connected to the Ryde and Newport exchanges will be able to order FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) broadband. This currently delivers top download speeds of 330Mbps and bandwidth isn’t affected by location in the same way that it is with FTTC. 

BT’s managing director of next generation access Bill Murphy said: “Today marks an important milestone for the faster broadband revolution on the Island, with 99 per cent of Isle of Wight homes and businesses having access to fibre broadband. 

“Successful broadband partnerships are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a key role in the future prosperity of communities for many years to come.”

The £7.6 million public-private partnership has seen BT putting superfast services in reach of 20,000 addresses in addition to the 50,000 it was already rolling out as part of its own £2.5 billion private network investment. 

Isle of Wight councillors originally kiboshed the plan, which would have put superfast services in reach of just 4,000 extra premises. While this revised plan has increased coverage, the work was also supposed to be done by last September. 

While this means that superfast services from the over 80 ISPs that use BT’s Openreach network are available to most islanders, the only alternative if you want to go faster than 76Mbps is to sign up for cable broadband from WightFibre. 

Like Virgin Media, WightFibre uses HFC (Hybrid Fibre Cable) connections to deliver speeds, currently up to 152Mbps. WightFibre’s cable footprint currently covers around 25 per cent of the island’s homes and ‘hundreds’ of business addresses. 

In areas where WightFibre doesn’t have a fixed line presence, it provides a wireless broadband service, delivering download speeds of 30Mbps, virtually everywhere else on the island. 

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