Jersey fibre broadband competition deal struck

Laying fibre optic cables
Image caption JT says it will have all 35,000 homes connected by 2016

A second company is offering gigabit broadband in Jersey after 18 months of negotiations between operators.

Government-owned JT is currently removing all copper cabling and replacing it with fibre as part of its Gigabit Jersey project.

The scheme is part-funded by the States of Jersey under a requirement the network is opened to other operators.

Sure Jersey chief executive Graham Hughes said he was disappointed it took 18 months.

'Genuine competition'

He said: "Sure has remained committed to securing fair and equitable access to Jersey's fibre network because it is the only way to provide all islanders with genuine competition and choice in broadband services.

"This was set out in condition two of the funding arrangements for the scheme but disappointingly, JT has been unwilling to provide this until now and even then, has only done so following 18 months of negotiation."

Andrew Riseley from the Channel Islands Competition Regulatory Authority said it had been a difficult negotiation.

He said: "We are pleased that there will be options available for customers in the provision of fibre broadband and that the roll-out process can be undertaken in a more efficient manner."

A spokesman for JT said it was disappointed Sure was not able to share the news without criticism.

He said: "We'll continue concentrating on installing the island's fibre network, which now has more than 5,000 connections, and would simply point out that it takes two to negotiate; so for [Sure] to criticise JT for delays would seem more than a little disingenuous."

Mr Hughes said Sure would be contacting its broadband customers soon to let them know how to switch to fibre.

The Gigabit Jersey project will see all copper cabling removed and replaced with fibre optics cables by the end of 2016.

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