The Isle of Man Government (British Crown Dependency) has agreed to invest £10m with local ISP Manx Telecom in order to help them extend the coverage of their gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network from 25% (10,000) of local premises today to 99% by around the end of 2025.
The latest development follows last year’s £255.9m acquisition by Basalt Infrastructure Partners II LP (here), which at the time was said to have placed the operator into a “much stronger position to invest in FTTP and 5G” mobile upgrades.
Manx has actually been busy conducting a gradual deployment their 1Gbps capable “ultrafast” full fibre broadband network since 2017 (here) but, thanks to the support of Basalt and the local government, they now intend to go much further.
Th new £10 million contract will see Manx Telecom become responsible for the delivery of wholesale FTTP in 9 intervention zones across the Island, which is focused upon “difficult to reach areas” that would normally be classed as “commercially unviable” without support from public funding.
Gary Lamb, Manx Telecom CEO, added:
“The company has already invested heavily in fibre broadband infrastructure and, by the end of 2019, its fibre network was within reach of 10,000 premises on the Island.
We have always supported the expansion of this network as part of our commitment to keep the Isle of Man at the forefront of digital technology and we welcome the opportunity to work with the Isle of Man Government to roll-out fibre to all parts of the Island, including rural areas.
The Isle of Man Government has rightly recognised that a world-class telecommunications infrastructure is vital to meet the needs of businesses and the general public, encouraging economic growth and social inclusion. We look forward to working together on this project that will future-proof the Island’s telecoms for years to come and enable us all to take advantage of emerging digital developments.”
Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Enterprise, said:
“As has been witnessed with the current global situation, it is an absolute necessity to have a strong telecoms infrastructure now more than ever, and the Isle of Man Government is determined to support the development of a telecoms infrastructure that is fully inclusive and meets the needs of both businesses and the public, now and into the future.
I am delighted to see that the process to rollout the National Broadband Plan will accelerate the delivery of fibre broadband around the Island, continuing to support the businesses and individuals as we adapt and persevere through this rapidly changing situation. This rollout will give the majority of the Island’s residents more opportunity to access fast, reliable internet.
It is an absolute necessity to have a strong telecoms infrastructure in our modern society and Manx Telecom has demonstrated it has the experience and capability to deliver the Government’s ambitious target. These improvements to the Island’s fibre broadband will support enhanced online services and align with the Government’s carbon neutrality policy by promoting more widespread remote working, which has been proven over the recent months to be not just required, but essential to the way we work.”