This is another article in my series about broadband in Guernsey and what the future might hold. You might like to read the previous articles: Hands on with JT’s fibre to the home, Why fibre, and why now?, Guernsey broadband should aim to lead, not bring up the rear, and some other secondary updates linked in those. Or not; I’m not the boss of you. I’ve talked before about how I think using the mobile data network to skirt around the problems caused by underinvestment in the physical telecoms network is at best a short-term stopgap, and not something to lean on long term.
I’ve been banging on for a while about why I think the only future for Guernsey’s internet infrastructure to homes and businesses is to embrace fibre broadband, and that technologies like VDSL and 4G are limited stop gaps at best. Fortunately, there is one telecoms company in Guernsey who agrees with me, and that’s JT (I’m sure Sure will come around eventually). JT have a fibre network to supply our government buildings and schools already, and are actively interested in trying to roll it out to homes and businesses who are near to this network, to free us from the horror of spotty, inconsistent copper-based broadband.
This is part of a series of arguments I’m making for Guernsey to take the plunge and invest in all-island fibre broadband. I’m currently working with JT on their market test of small extensions to their existing fibre network to evaluate the viability of connecting some people to fibre with only private sector funds, but ultimately I’d like to see our government following examples elsewhere and investing in public/private fibre infrastructure across the whole island.
Those of you who follow my blog know that I have a keen interest in the provision of high speed broadband in Guernsey, including to homes. If not, you can catch up with my reasoning in this post a year ago, and this one a few days ago. The main issue right now for home broadband in Guernsey is that Sure controls the main fixed line network, and they are currently committed to a strategy of VDSL (fibre to the cabinet, copper to the home), which can provide a pretty decent, if not particularly future proof, service except for the fact that the rollout of new cabinets has been slow enough that there are still quite a few gaps where line distances make VDSL impractical; including both of the addresses I’ve lived in 2014.
Aside: I’ve decided in future to share my thoughts on local issues primarily through my blog rather than doing media interviews, for a number of reasons. I’m better at writing than I am at speaking, and I’m not as comfortable with the reactive, off-the-cuff and time-limited style that I’m forced to adopt when doing interviews. Sharing here on my blog I get to say what I want to say, at my own speed and in the way I intended, without someone else driving the direction of the discussion or editing my responses.
That’s me in the corner That’s me in the spotlight ~ [Losing My Religion, R.E.M.] I’m a classic introvert. I’m not shy, because introversion has nothing to do with shyness. It also doesn’t mean I have no social skills, no friends or that I can’t deal with personal contact - I’m quite happy getting up on a stage and speaking and have done so at several international conferences (and a local one last week), and I think most people will tell you I’m not afraid to express my opinion at such events.
There’s a campaign that’s been running here for a while called ‘Buy Local’ which encourages people to buy things from their local shops rather than ordering online, thus putting money back into the local economy. In general, this is a sensible message that I can support. But the more I think about it, the more I think it may be missing the point. I think what needs to be said is that the fact that you’re local isn’t justification for customers to prefer you over another supplier if your product or service are sub-par.
I was invited to write this blog post by @cutoffgg, a group raising awareness of how poor the broadband options available in Guernsey are, and I readily agreed. Everyone I talk to in Guernsey, whether they be a businesses or home user, has something to complain about when it comes to the Internet service they receive here for the price they pay, yet the our providers continuously give us the impression that should be grateful for the ‘competitive’ service we receive.
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume that the reader is a relatively normal person, and not a raging egomaniac, or a nihilistic sociopath - investment bankers, you might want to stop reading now ;). Still with me? OK. So, I don’t know precisely what you do for a living; given my usual readership you’re quite likely to be a software developer, but I believe this applies pretty universally.
My broadband connection was on the blink this morning, which affected me less than it would usually would have because I had a dentist appointment, so I didn’t think too much of it. I heard on the radio when driving to said appointment that the whole island was affected so that made me feel a little better, and everything came back about an hour after I returned. However a friend of mine works at one of the local telecoms companies (and which is also the broadband wholesaler to the others - kind of like our local version of BT) phoned me at lunchtime to ask if my connection was back, since he hadn’t seen me on Skype (I’d actually just forgotten to turn it back on).