Superfast VDSL broadband will be available to 87 per cent of homes and businesses in the island by the end of this year, Manx Telecom says.
VDSL (Very High Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber Line) technology allows fixed line broadband download speeds of up to 40 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 2 Mbps – that’s up to three time faster than ADSL broadband.
At present, around 81 per cent of homes and businesses are able to receive VDSL broadband.
For home entertainment, VDSL makes it possible to surf the internet, play online games, and download videos at the fastest possible speeds.
However, the technology is dependent upon landline length and is only available to properties within 2km of a VDSL ‘node’.
Therefore, increasing its availability requires investment to install new nodes in the basements of buildings and in street cabinets.
Peter Callow, head of ‘wholesale and regulatory’ at Manx Telecom, said: ‘Achieving the 87 per cent target set for the end of 2014 requires a significant amount of engineering work to install FTTC/B (fibre optic cables to the cabinet/basement) nodes.
‘These nodes will be in street cabinets and apartment blocks at locations across the island and all households and businesses affected by a new node will be contacted in writing.
‘All of the island’s 12 exchanges were quickly equipped with VDSL when first launched on the island in October 2011, enabling all lines up to 2km in length to receive the service.
‘Broadband users on the Island are increasingly embracing the digital age with VDSL providing many advantages for home entertainment and for business. Because of the many benefits there has been an overwhelmingly positive response from those who have taken up the service, and demand from those whose line length is greater than 2km. Our continued investment in extending VDSL availability is a response to this demand.’
Manx Telecom’s investment in VDSL this year is included within the anticipated capital expenditure for 2014, as noted in the company’s financial results announced on April 15.
A total of 23 new FTTC/B nodes were installed in 2013 – a year in which the company’s total investment in VDSL hit £2million. Mr Callow added:
‘The locations for deployment of new FTTC nodes are determined by two key factors – the number of homes that would benefit from the new node and the increase in bandwidth that would be experienced. So a large group of homes that currently receive relatively low bandwidths because of their line lengths would be our priority.’
Andy Bridson, the chief executive officer of Manx Telecom’s main rival, Sure Isle of Man, told iomtoday.co.im: ‘Manx Telecom provides the local element of our broadband product.
‘Sure, however, provides onward connectivity from the Isle of Man to global internet exchanges and provides a very high quality broadband product to our customers for the lowest price in the Isle of Man.’