Promising speeds up to 50 times faster than today’s basic broadband, the scheme would see a state-of-the-art fibre to the premises broadband network – with work getting underway this year, the first properties connected next year and the network completed by 2026.
Millions of pounds flowing to local suppliers are also promised, along with about 75 new jobs. Under the proposals, telecoms provider Sure would undertake the work – with the States Assembly being asked to support a capped investment of up to £12.5m. to achieve a 100% roll-out within the timeframe.
Critically, all licensed operators are being promised they will have non-discriminatory access to the wholesale network at the regulated rates approved by the island’s competition regulator - ensuring competition at the retail level.
Policy & Resources and Economic Development committees said they will submit a joint policy letter setting out the case for taxpayers’ money to be invested in upgrading Guernsey’s digital infrastructure. The announcement of the proposed fibre roll-out follows months of discussions with on-island telecoms providers and other interested parties.
‘Businesses, the wider community and indeed government have told us that we need to accelerate the roll-out of fibre so that our digital infrastructure is faster, more resilient and accessible to all. We’ve listened and acted on this,’ said P&R president Deputy Peter Ferbrache.
‘This is a critical decision for this States, as we are presenting the opportunity to make a significant investment to ensure our island keeps pace with and in some cases overtakes our competitors around the world.’
He added the Government Work Plan showed the need for 21st century infrastructure to meet challenges in the global economy, skills and education, and on digitising public services to cut the cost and size of government.
‘If the States Assembly agrees this investment, the accelerated roll-out will begin before the end of this year, be finished in 2026, and no-one in our community will be left behind. Importantly, it will also tell the world that Guernsey is investing in its future,’ said Deputy Ferbrache.
Alistair Beak, Sure Group chief executive officer, said the scheme would underpin Guernsey’s digital infrastructure and economy for decades to come.
‘As well as boosting long term economic growth Sure will be creating in the region of 75 additional jobs and directing the vast majority of the £37.5m. spend through local suppliers. The partial funding from the States of Guernsey will have a significant impact in ensuring island wide coverage and an accelerated roll out within five years,’ he said.
“We’re truly building a network that’s going to make a difference for everyone in Guernsey – and we’re proud to be connecting the community for a better future.’