One is to welcome it. The second is to ask: Why has it taken so long?
A full fibre-to-the-home network has been described as ‘a revolution in connectivity’. Though some would argue that it will take Guernsey, by the planned completion date of 2026, merely to where Jersey was five years ago.
Jersey Telecoms’ initial moves a decade ago to install fibre to every home in Jersey were not universally popular. There were concerns about disruption in Jersey, while some in Guernsey openly scoffed in derision, There was little clamour for the island to follow suit.
Now, with Jersey riding high in global broadband tables for years, it has proved to be a £50m. project which future-proofed the island for, one expects, decades to come.
Whether it was acute political direction, or the confidence in using a States-owned utility to help the island get ahead and ride out its global financial crisis challenges, Jersey not only stepped ahead, it placed itself where the world wants to be. Every jurisdiction today demands speedy broadband.
With the States intending to support the project by contributing up to a third of the £37.5m. price tag, alongside Sure's financial contribution, to ensure the plans stay within a four-year timeframe, and all telcos and regulatory parties engaged in the discussions, going back a year, the new proposals, which need agreement from the States, have been broadly welcomed.
The fibre network should offer speeds up to 50 times faster than today’s basic broadband. Sure assures islanders that its entry level price point won't change too much, while those speeds double.
While 5G mobile remains off the table for the next couple of years, with preparatory licensing work progressing, the development of broadband remains mission critical for the island and for the States.
While islanders may be a little sceptical at the claim that fibre to the home will see Guernsey overtaking global competitors, this does represent a much-needed investment in the island’s future.