WIGHTFIBRE has announced plans to roll out ultrafast full-fibre broadband across the Isle of Wight, following a £35 million investment. 
The company, based in Cowes, announced the project this morning (Wednesday) at the Digital Solent conference, taking place at Cowes Yacht Haven.
WightFibre is the first company in the country to receive investment from the government’s new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, which was launched by HM Treasury in July this year.
The full-fibre broadband network will provide speeds of up to 1Gb (1,000Mb) or faster to over 50,000 homes and businesses across the Island, including areas of the Island not previously served by WightFibre.
This will create the UK’s first ‘Gigabit Island’.
The investment will safeguard 34 jobs and create around 20 new permanent jobs at WightFibre and 120 temporary jobs during the build phase of the new network.
Full-fibre broadband uses fibre optic cabling all the way from the exchange into the home. Existing broadband infrastructure on the Island uses fibre to the cabinet but then copper twisted pair from the cabinet to the home.
WightFibre’s chief executive officer, John Irvine, said: “Just ten years ago few of us could have imagined just how much we would all be using the internet both at home and work.
"Traditional copper networks have struggled to keep up with demand.
"The new WightFibre full-fibre network will be capable of handling the Islands broadband demands for decades to come, catapulting the Island into the front line of the new digital economy."
James Harraway, director of Infracapital, said: “We are extremely pleased to announce our investment in WightFibre.
"This is the first investment by Digital Infrastructure Investment Partners, jointly with Infracapital’s Greenfield strategy, WightFibre has a strong local brand and has a proven capability to deliver good service and fast broadband to homes and businesses on the Isle of Wight, and we look forward to supporting the expansion of its network, to the benefit of customers Island-wide”.
The new network will be built over the next five years. WightFibre will provide details of availability of the service in the coming months.
Customers can register their interest at www.wightfibre.com/gigabitisland