The Isles of Scilly are to benefit from a fibre broadband deal worth up to £132 million across Cornwall and the islands.

Isles of Scilly households and businesses now have access to broadband speeds of up to 80mbps - depending on how much they pay - which is ten times faster than the previous maximum of up to 8mbps.

The Isles of Scilly will have access to superfast broadband speeds thanks to a BT cable project. Image credit: BT

A 939 kilometre cable between Porthcurno, Cornwall and Santander, Spain, which had remained unused on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean since 2006, was diverted to the Isles of Scilly during a month-long operation involving the 12,200 tonne cable ship Resolute.

Engineers from BT Openreach have also installed a new network on the isles and have built new links between the five inhabited islands. New fibre optic cables have been laid from the main island St Mary’s to Tresco and between Tresco and Bryher, whilst new microwave radio links have been used to provide the same fibre broadband services for St Agnes and St Martins.

The project is part of the £132 million Superfast Cornwall initiative between the European Regional Development Fund, BT and Cornwall Council, which plans to make fibre broadband available to 95 percent of homes and businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by the end of 2014.

Until now, the 2,200 residents of Scilly – located 28 miles off the south west tip of Cornwall – have relied upon a phone and broadband service provided by a radio link between Lands End and the islands.

Nigel Ashcroft, Superfast Cornwall programme director for Cornwall Development Company, the economic development company of Cornwall Council, said: “There has been huge interest in this project by the people of the Isles of Scilly. It represents one of the largest single investments ever undertaken on these remote isles and makes them some of the best connected islands in the world. This technology will reinforce the isles’ reputation as a hotspot for homeworking."

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