THE Isle of Wight Council has said it wants to turn the Island into the smartest and most digitally connected Island on the planet.

Councillors voted to approve the Isle of Wight Council’s Digital Island strategy, which aims to help Islanders and businesses embrace digital living and support economic growth by developing digital skills.

Councillor Wayne Whittle, cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said: “Digital technology presents major benefits for Island communities, allowing them to be connected in a way that has not previously been possible.

“Our digital strategy will deliver growth within the economy, support improved digital and transport connectivity, education and skills and contribute to better health and social care services.”

Digital Island is part of the council’s wider £200 million regeneration programme designed to tackle structural, economic and financial challenges on the Island.

Many Islanders can access advanced broadband speeds thanks to the roll-out of the Gigabit Island programme. The focus now will shift to under-served areas, to ensure all communities are connected.

The goal is to bring full fibre broadband to 50,000 houses by 2021 — just over 70 per cent of Island homes — with the ambition to achieve 100 per cent access soon after.

Meanwhile, digital technology is already supporting more older people to live independently and at home for longer, helping to avoid significant costs of having to be placed in residential or nursing care.

The strategy also highlights how technology is helping local industry “overcome the barrier of water”, allowing them to operate in a global, cyber economy and increase productivity from here on the Island.

The document, approved by the cabinet, also details how new systems will improve the council’s own services by increasing the number of transactions that can be completed online.