The first Jersey residents are now benefitting from fibre-optic broadband with the launch of trials of JT's new network.
So far twenty four homes have been connected to the trial, with more being added every day; the trial is focussed on the La Rocque, Fauvic and La Moye areas of the Island, and is open to customers of all broadband providers.
Within the next couple of weeks, around 500 households will be connected to the new fibre network; more than 350 applications were received within the first forty eight hours of opening the trial, and JT engineers have been working since then to get the network laid, and the first homes connected.
Adrian Renouf is a freelance IT professional, living in St Brelade. He was previously on a 4Mb broadband connection, and was one of the first to be connected to the fibre trial:
"It makes a considerable difference when streaming TV programs over the internet, as the pictures come up immediately; there is no need to wait while the 'buffering' takes place. I am currently getting a download speed of '50Mb' and an upload speed of '40mb', which makes it so much easier to work with pictures, or to use more complex websites".
His experience is echoed by Mark Stockwell who also lives in the La Moye area of St Brelade. He was on a 4Mb connection, which has been boosted to 84Mb with fibre-optic cabling:
"We are a family of four with multiple devices accessing the internet at the same time, such as PC's and laptops, an IPod and PS3's. The fibre connection makes it possible for the family to use those devices at the same time without noticing any drop-off in quality. I also particularly noticed the increased upload speeds, which makes sending e-mails with attachments much easier. Streaming TV was smoother, quicker and had better picture quality. Also I sometimes work from home, and connecting into my work system was much better with fibre".
JT is planning to extend the fibre-optic network to every home and business in the Island by 2016; it has published a map showing when the different areas of the Island will be connected (attached). The current trial will last for 3 months, with trialists being asked for detailed feedback covering everything from the installation experience to the service itself. Their comments will then be analysed by JT, and the important user feedback will help to finalise the wholesale products and will help JT and its wholesale partners to develop new fibre broadband services which will be offered to Islanders in the near future.
Trialists will see at least a doubling of their previous broadband speed; however the trial will also include providing some homes with the ultimate 1Gb (1024Mb) speed.
“We have a 5 year roll out plan to connect all homes in Jersey by 2016”, said Graeme Millar, CEO of JT. “Clearly it takes time to replace the island-wide copper cable network, and we need to do that in stages to minimise disruption and gain appropriate access to the 42,000 homes. Thankfully when we laid the copper, we did it in such a way as to make it as easy as possible to replace, which will help to keep that disruption to a minimum.
I'm delighted the fibre broadband trial is now well underway, and the first Islanders are already benefitting from the new service; we have also just taken on our first new staff to help deliver the Gigabit Jersey project, so it is definitely all going forward as we planned, and is a very exciting time both for JT and for the Island as a whole. There is of course some way to go, but these are important initial milestones".