Jersey is often paraded as the model for a FTTH roll-out that should have been adopted across the UK, but ambitious project that would have seen the old copper network removed and everyone connected via a full fibre connection for telephone and broadband appears to be falling foul of financial and contractual disputes.
The FTTH roll-out by JT passed its 10,000 customer on the fibre network in August, but according to the latest information the coverage is sitting at 11,000-12,000 premises (figure varies according to the original source) and a very high probability that some 6,000 premises will still be waiting for a connection by the end of 2016 when the project was originally due to end in 2015.
Dividend holidays were being used to part fund the roll-out of fibre to the premises, but in an attempt to balance the state budget which faces a £31 million deficit the state owned telecoms operators is being asked to provide a £6 million dividend which will help to balance the books. Even before this latest financial blow there has been disputes with the workforce of Gigabit Field Force (subsidiary of JT who are doing the roll-out) over zero hours contracts that has resulted in two demonstrations.
This is not the first time the JT roll-out has hit problems when a sub-contractor lost a contract for work on the project. The current work dispute is involves CH2M Hill who are the sub-contractors who appear to do the actual civils work and revolves around hours work, staff being paid and delivering the roll-out within the budget.
Everyone knows that FTTH solutions be they point to point or GPON architecture are technically superior to the VDSL2 solutions, but the problems in Jersey highlight the complexity and cost of doing this on a large scale.