Guernsey ISP Sure Prep 300Gbps Upgrade of Subsea Fibre Network
October 15, 2019
The incumbent broadband, 4G mobile and phone provider on the English Channel Island of Guernsey, Sure, has announced a major 5-year plan to invest several million pounds in order to upgrade their sub-sea fibre optic links with the United Kingdom. This could increase network capacity to 300Gbps (Gigabits per second).
At present most fixed broadband connections on the island are delivered by a Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL) network that is capable of speeds up to 100Mbps, although this is expected to be improved with the future introduction of Very High bit rate Digital Subscriber Line (VHDSL) technology. Some Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) infrastructure is also present on parts of the island.
Last year the States of Guernsey (Government) set out a new strategy to help bring FTTC/P to business districts, support the rollout of ultrafast 5G mobile technology and ensure that 85% of homes can access broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps (public money was proposed to help fix the final 15% but the details of this remain unclear).
Suffice to say that all of the above, when combined with rising data demands from local consumers, means that operators like Sure and JT on Guernsey will need more capacity. Both JT and Sure already have multiple links on the island, most of which connect to the UK and one goes back through Jersey and then on to France (INGRID / Channel Islands Electricity Grid).
Guernsey’s Subsea Fibre Links
- UK-Channel Islands-7 / CI-7 (Owner: Sure, BT , JT) – 6 fibre pairs
- Channel Islands-9 Liberty Submarine Cable (Owner: JT) – 4 fibre pairs
- HUGO – High-capacity Undersea Guernsey Optical-fibre (Owner: Sure, Vodafone) – 2 fibre pairs
- Guernsey-Jersey-4 / CI-4 (Owner: Sure, BT , JT) – 6 fibre pairs
- INGRID / CEIG (Owner: BT / Sure / JEC) – 24 fibre pairs
NOTE: Ownership information can change over time, so the above might not be 100% accurate.
We should point out that both CI-4 and CI-7 have an estimated lifespan of 25 years and they’ll actually be reaching the end of their predicted life this year, which is important because Sure doesn’t say precisely which of their subsea cables are going to be upgraded to deliver this 300% capacity increase or how. Sure could conceivably extend the lifespan of those cables by adding new repeaters to tackle loss, but they might also build a new cable.