Building Digital UK (BDUK) part of the Department for Digital, Media and Sport (DCMS), has allocated up to £9M of funding to WightFibre for its’ Gigabit Island Project. The additional funding, available from the BDUK Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, will enable WightFibre to extend its’ rollout to more rural areas of the Island.
Areas set to benefit from the voucher funding include Ventnor, Seaview, St Helens, Bembridge, Shalfleet, Yarmouth, Freshwater, Totland, Mottistone, Brightstone, Chale, Chale Green, Niton, Whitwell, Wroxall, Rookley, Newchurch, Winford, Alverstone Garden Village and Haven Street.
WightFibre’s rollout will reach 60,000 homes by the end of 2022 with the remainder due to be completed by the end of 2023. Other homes which require landowner permission, for example private unadopted roads, may take longer if permission is not forthcoming.
John Irvine, CEO of WightFibre, said, “This is great news for the Isle of Wight. WightFibre’s world-class, full-fibre network is delivering some of the best broadband in the world to the Island. This will set the Island apart for decades to come. This BDUK voucher funding will allow us to reach even more premises to ensure no-one is left behind.”
Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, Cabinet member for Regeneration, Business Development and Tourism, Isle of Wight Council also welcomed the news, “WightFibre’s Gigabit Island Project is an important part of the Isle of Wight Council’s Digital Island Strategy which aims to see as many premises as possible on the Island receive access to gigabit capable broadband. This is important for the Island’s digital economy, will make the Island more attractive for digital businesses and will aid the Council’s Regeneration programme”.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “Our voucher scheme is energising broadband firms such as Wightfibre to build ultra high-speed internet infrastructure in the most hard-to-reach parts of the Isle of Wight. There is up to £9 million worth of vouchers available for homes and businesses on the Island and I’d encourage anyone looking for a broadband boost to apply.”
Vouchers worth up to £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses help to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps. Vouchers are paid when a home or business is connected and are paid directly to WightFibre.