Sure has announced a multimillion-pound investment plan for Guernsey that will futureproof the island's telecoms infrastructure and equip it for a digital future over the next five years.
Sure is investing in a range of new broadband technologies to stay ahead of customer demands as consumers and businesses increasingly use digital services. Sure's plans include a commitment to increasing broadband speeds through extending its fibre-rich approach and new innovations including trials for fibre directly to the home and 5G services, both of which will commence in the coming months.
The first phase of this investment plan is upgrading the subsea cables that link Guernsey to the rest of the world and provide the majority of the island's communications needs including broadband, voice and data services.
Upgrades to the subsea cables will increase capacity of Sure's network to 300 Gigabits per second, an increase of almost 300%, to meet the island's future bandwidth needs for the next five years. This new network make it much easier to upgrade at increments of 100 Gigabits; an increase of more than ten times over the technology deployed today.
Demand, increasing by 35% each year, is being fuelled by a range of digital applications such as Netflix or Sky 4K HD video streaming, Amazon Prime's live Premier League football streaming and new services such as Google's soon-to-launch Stadia streaming gaming service. For business customers their digital transformation activities and increasing uptake of cloud technologies are driving demand for moving more data in and out of Guernsey.
Ian Kelly, Sure's CEO, said that the subsea cable is critical to the island.
"The importance of our subsea infrastructure really can't be overstated. Guernsey has been winning business on the world stage as a direct result of our network resilience and of course it keeps all of us connected in our daily lives. It is the unseen foundation that enables and secures connectivity for businesses, in our homes and when mobile.
"We're carrying out this upgrade work, which is a significant multimillion-pound investment, to reinforce the quality of the infrastructure and ensure that our network continues to be the most resilient in the Channel Islands.
"The digital future and this investment are aligned with the States of Guernsey's ambitious telecoms strategy as we work together to secure the island's continued prosperity and success."
Sure's subsea infrastructure consists of multiple cables that connect the island to the other Channel Islands, the UK and Europe. The network's resilience is such that it can withstand two separate failures and still keep the island connected, as happened in 2017 when a cable was damaged by a ship which meant other telecoms operators were reliant on Sure's network to carry all traffic.
Ian said that Sure has an ambitious plan: "This is an exciting five-year investment programme which will significantly enhance residential broadband and business connectivity and is a clear signal of Sure's commitment to Guernsey."
Sure will be making more announcements in the coming months about its five-year investment plan and the implications for the digital future of the Bailiwick.