‘Hallelujah’ – chief minister hails full-fibre future

‘HALLELUJAH’ said the island’s senior politician, to mark the day the States decided to leave copper behind and commit Guernsey to a full-fibre digital future.

Economic Development's digital lead Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30083637)
Economic Development's digital lead Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30083637)

The States unanimously approved giving a maximum of £12.5m. to telecoms company Sure to enable the roll-out of next-generation digital infrastructure.

In his opening speech on the policy letter, Policy & Resources president Deputy Peter Ferbrache said it was an open goal for Guernsey that should be embraced.

‘I say hallelujah, really, because this is a policy letter that metaphorically, if it’s passed, the bells of joy should be ringing because it’s investing in infrastructure, which we haven’t done for a long time. It’s making us competitive in the digital infrastructure world, it’s providing extra services and capability for every home and every business in this island.’

The project should mean that every home and business in the island will be able to receive super-fast internet by 2026.

Guernsey currently lags behind other British towns and cities, coming 45th among British locations for internet speed.

Jersey ranks fourth, and the aim is to get Guernsey into the top 10.

Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, digital lead on Economic Development, said the day marked a fantastic milestone to power the digital economy and be seen as a forward-looking island.

‘With the lockdowns that we’ve had they’ve really brought home the issue of internet connectivity to all of us, with the competing demands between home working, online learning, the amount of devices that we all have, the ever more bandwidth-hungry apps and websites, I think we all recognise the need for a better network,’ she said.

‘We really need a network that can scale exponentially with the demands of the community, education and industry.

‘More and more businesses need hyper-fast connectivity because their work depends on processing huge amounts of data fast, any delay is a killer.

‘While some of us may think “I don’t need faster internet, I’m fine”, the truth is as a competitive island we need to cater for the whole spectrum of demand, including cutting-edge global businesses that operate on our island.’

The vote on the digital infrastructure plans was unanimous, with three members absent.

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