A disused offshore fibre optic cable will be redirected for superfast broadband in a £3.7 million bid to upgrade the Isles of Scilly from its current radio connection to Land’s End.
The privately-owned broadband pipeline has been sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for three years, where it was used to connect the UK, Ireland and Spain.
Later this year, a cable ship will spend about a month cutting and moving the two cables, which are expected to be connected to the five Scilly Isles in early 2014.
The 2,200 residents of the isles will be able to enjoy fibre-powered broadband services which were previously supplied by a much slower radio link to Land’s End, 28 miles away.
Read more about Superfast CornwallNigel Ashcroft of Superfast Cornwall said: “The project to deliver fibre optic broadband for the Isles of Scilly will be one of the most important steps forward for the islands for many years.”
BT described the project as the most ambitious ever performed in UK waters, and possibly Europe.
“BT engineers have devised a highly innovative and environmentally-friendly scheme to bring fibre broadband to the islands that is pioneering in every sense of the word,” said Ranulf Scarbrough, Superfast Cornwall programme director for BT.
“The remote location of the Isles of Scilly, their wonderful maritime heritage and scientific and environmental status will present a variety of unique engineering challenges.
“Environmentally, it is excellent news that we are able to breathe new life into existing cables which are no longer used, but still in very good condition. Superfast Cornwall has raised the bar again by showing that fibre broadband can be brought to places that some thought impossible.”
The £132 million Superfast Cornwall initiative combines the European Regional Development Fund, BT and Cornwall Council, and has already upgraded broadband speeds for half of Cornwall’s mainland homes and businesses.