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Sure begins multimillion-pound network upgrade project

Sure engineers have begun work on a project to futureproof the Channel Islands’ telecoms networks.

The work will upgrade the infrastructure which connects Jersey to the global internet and is an investment of more than £3m; it forms part of the local telecoms provider’s five-year infrastructure investment plan, first announced late last year.

As part of the project the undersea fibre connectivity which connects the islands to both the UK and France, and from there to the rest of the world, will be replaced and upgraded and engineers will commission new key networking equipment in London and Paris.

The upgrade work will benefit consumers, businesses and the islands’ economies by enabling both increased resiliency and extra capacity to be added in increments of 100 Gigabits; an increase of more than ten times on the technology used today.

Sure has selected systems integration company Telent and network equipment manufacturer Juniper Networks, as well-established partners, to complete the work. The contract was signed this month (May 2020) and work is already underway, with an expected completion date of early 2021.

Graham Hughes, chief executive at Sure Jersey, said that committing to the project now is a sign of the company’s confidence in the islands’ economies to bounce back from the recent global pandemic.

“This is a significant long-term investment for Sure with the current situation a reminder that telecoms is a key and growing component of our economy and daily lives,” said Mr Hughes.

“There’s never been more demand on our networks and we want to make sure we stay well ahead of this demand by investing in long-term telecoms infrastructure that futureproofs the Channel Islands.”

James Morgan, Vice President, Enterprise Sales, EMEA at Juniper Networks said: “The varied geographies and environments of the Channel Islands can bring unique challenges to the deployment and management of telecommunication networks. By tackling this complexity together, through the use of our MX480 routers coupled with our partner Corero’s DDoS protection solution, Juniper can help Sure to seamlessly migrate its core network from 10G to 100G in order to meet the current challenges and set itself up for future success.” 

Tony Moretta, CEO of Digital Jersey, said: “This investment will play a critical role in enhancing Jersey’s position as one of the best, digitally connected jurisdictions in the world. Recent events have proven that connectivity plays a critical role in our society and has made lockdown more feasible both economically and socially. The timing of the announcement reinforces our position as a finance destination of choice as we deliver the economic exit from the coronavirus pandemic.”

John Davison Chief Information Officer of First Central Insurance & Technology Group, and existing Sure Business customer, said: “We have been a customer of Sure for the last six years and in 2017 we decided to migrate our servers from the UK to Sure’s cloud platforms in Guernsey and Jersey. The security systems, the ‘state of the art’ cloud technology offered and the investment capability of Sure in futureproofing it are paramount. This important 100Gbps leapfrog connectivity uplift will enable us and businesses operating from the Channel Islands at large to take advantages in a rapidly changing ecosystem post coronavirus.”

The work is underway and most of it will be completed by Sure’s locally based team of expert network engineers.