The Department for Enterprise, has awarded Manx Telecom as preferred supplier with designated fibre provider status to deliver the Island's National Broadband Plan, as outlined in the National Telecoms Strategy, which was unanimously approved by Tynwald in October 2018.
This £10 million contract will see Manx Telecom responsible for the delivery of wholesale ultrafast fibre broadband (FTTP) in nine intervention zones across the Island, these are difficult to reach areas and as a consequence providing high speed broadband services to these locations is likely to be commercially unviable.
Minister for Enterprise, Laurence Skelly MHK, 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.'
Manx Telecom CEO Gary Lamb added:
'We have already invested heavily in fibre broadband infrastructure and, by the end of 2019, our 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.'
The plan, will be completed within five years and deliver a new fibre network passing 99% of residential and business premises with speeds of up to 1Gb/s. 25% of Island properties can already access ultrafast fibre broadband via licensed operators and this award will ensure that the network is rolled out across the Island.