The Isle of Wight broadband project moving into the procurement phase looked like a small update, but WightFibre talking to local publication Island:Pulse is claiming it will meet the projects objectives years ahead of the council plans.
There appears to be some resentment that the firm has not been able to bid for the work, though it would also appear what WightFibre claim to not need funding from the council and will deliver equivalent coverage of superfast broadband. We have spent some time looking for precisely what the Isle of Wight council plan is, but beyond generic BDUK type phrases of 90% getting access to superfast and 100% of other premises getting at least 2 Mbps nothing is clear. Certainly no publicly visible evidence to support the idea that the council project has an end date of 2019, the 90% target is clearly laid out for 2015, though it might be missed with the project now not starting until 2014.
Across the UK other broadband projects have carried out a mapping and consultation phase where broadband suppliers are meant to supply details of their commercial plans (and they can submit changes if their plans change) for the period up to 2015. This is meant to avoid council money being spent in areas where for example a superfast service via an alternative operator (e.g. Virgin Media is available). The result of this exercise is a map of white areas, where the council intends to spend money to provide a USC grade service or superfast service.
We have contacted WightFibre to see if they have submitted their plans to the council and more information on their current footprint and where they plan to expand to on the island.
With around 70,000 premises on the island, if WightFibre is really deploying its 100 Mbps services to 90% of these by the end of 2014, the BDUK, council and commercial partner funding should easily be able to provide FTTP to the remaining properties on the island rather than the halfway house of FTTC or FTTN.