FAQs: Fibre broadband and Isle of Man National Broadband Plan
Manx Telecom Wholesale team is currently well underway in their rollout of fibre broadband around the Isle of Man. The plan is to deliver fibre to 99% of properties on Island by 2024. This is a significant infrastructure project requiring investment from Manx Telecom of over £50million to reach almost 75% of properties. The Department for Enterprise, as part of their National Broadband Plan tender, has appointed Manx Telecom their preferred partner to deliver fibre broadband to the remaining ~25% of properties that would not otherwise be commercially viable to reach.
To provide an idea of the scale of this project, there are an estimated 41,000 properties on the island, 99% of which have to be passed with new fibre infrastructure within 4 years. As part of the fibre deployment, we will be required to complete civil works which could involve the installation of new duct work, poles, and potential short-term road closures.
This is a critically important project for the Isle of Man and one we are hugely proud to be delivering. We understand there will be questions around how areas are prioritised and planned, and how the actual fibre installation process is handled for your specific property. As a result, we have created the following questions and answers based on those being asked on social media channels and direct to our contact centre. We’ve also created a number of videos and information resources to explain and assist with the transition to a fibre broadband infrastructure.
Fibre to the premises (FTTP) rollout FAQ’s
▼ When will I get fibre?
There is a fibre lookup tool at mt.im/fibre that will tell you if fibre is currently available to your property, and if not when it is expected to be available in your area.
As you might expect, with any major infrastructure project this is subject to change so these are indicative dates and very high level for any planned releases beyond the next 6 months.
▼ How are you prioritising each area?
The fibre broadband rollout is a massive engineering project that will take 4 years to complete and involves 21 spines being installed from 6 key hubs around the Island. The project will see fibre optic cabling pass 99% of the 41,000 properties on the Island
As each fibre spine is deployed, it is planned along the most optimal route available. This may result in some areas not having fibre when it would appear logical that they should but the route is planned to be as optimal and effective as possible. In addition, prioritisation within the NBP areas is given to achieve the targets set down in the National Broadband Plan across the 9 zones over the 4 years. The NBP rollout (which equates to approx. 25% of properties) runs alongside the existing 4-year commitment MT is undertaking to complete the rest of the Island (75%).
How fibre is planned and deployed
▼ I can see the exchange/cab from my house, why do I have to wait so long for fibre?
Again, it depends on which route the spine is rolled out and how this is determined by a team of experienced planners who have knowledge of each area and the existing infrastructure in place. While it may seem some areas are by-passed it is this availability of infrastructure that will determine the route the fibre will take.
To complete the whole plan, we have 6 main hubs with 21 spines required to achieve the plan. To date, 7 have been completed and another 14 are required.
How fibre is planned and deployed
▼ I live in a built-up area, why does a rural area get FTTP before me?
The time and effort required to deliver fibre to different areas will vary due to a number of factors, including existing infrastructure. There are 21 fibre spines being rolled out from 6 main hubs around the island. As the density of housing in any given area is a key factor, it is often quicker to reach some of the rural areas than it is to reach the more densely populated areas such as Douglas & Onchan.
To date, 7 fibre spines have been completed with another 14 required.
▼ My copper broadband performs well, why should I change?
Copper services are more prone to fault conditions which could impact your service. A lot of these conditions, such as water ingress are not an issue for fibre-based services.
▼ I live in a block of flats and I’m the only one who wants FTTP?
We would like to offer the services to everyone, including everyone in flats. We have recently reduced the percentage of residents required for a fibre install to proceed from 50% of occupants, down to 25% to help with this.
▼ How will I connect fibre to my home?
Once the new fibre has been installed and commissioned in your area, you will be able to place an order to upgrade your service to fibre broadband. You will be informed by post when the new service is ready to order.
Full details about the fibre installation process and what you can expect can be found here.
This is a new network and as such it may require additional work to connect it to your premise. We’ve created a short video to explain the installation process:
▼ My broadband is poor now! Will I have to wait 4 years to be able to access fibre?
If your existing broadband is poor at the moment, please speak to our team and we will work with you to help improve your broadband experience where we can. We have also created an additional guide and video to help you optimise the performance of WiFi within your own home or business.
National Broadband Plan FAQs
▼ My property is located in an intervention area, what does this mean for me?
Given the diverse nature of the Isle of Man’s landscape and the remote nature of some of the properties, it would be some time before they would be passed by new fibre broadband infrastructure. The Department for Enterprise has partnered with Manx Telecom to ensure that all properties on the Island have access to high-speed broadband services in a reasonable timeframe. If your property is located in an intervention area it means that new high-speed internet services will now be installed where in the past there would be no planned commercial network.
▼ What areas does the National Broadband Scheme Cover?
Given the nature of the Island, there are rural and ultra-rural premises in all areas across the Island. The scheme therefore covers multiple areas across the Island in every parish.
There are around 41,000 premises on the Island and the Department for Enterprise will be providing funding to reach 12,345 of them which would not, under normal circumstances, be considered commercially viable. Manx Telecom, as the government's preferred supplier, will be delivering the new fibre network past the remaining premises.
▼ Why full fibre?
Full fibre is optic fibre cable connected all the way to your premises, not just the nearest green cabinet that is capable of delivering gigabit-capable broadband speed. Fibre optic cable is the most reliable way of delivering high-speed broadband connectivity.
A gigabit is the same as 1,000 megabits, so it’s a big leap forward in connection speeds that will benefit users into the future, whether at home or work.
Gigabit-capable means that the connection can handle speeds of 1,000 Megabits per second but users only sign up to speeds they can afford or require. As demand increases, users can choose the option to pay for more speed if needed.
▼ Why will it take so long to complete fibre to my property?
Rolling fibre broadband out around the Island is a huge undertaking. It requires delivering fibre cables to around 41,000 properties. In many cases ducts are not available to use and new infrastructure is required to lay the cable and connect directly to homes. We have greatly increased the number of engineers working on our fibre rollout to deliver the future of connectivity within a realistic, yet challenging time frame.
▼ How can I find out more about NBP & fibre on the IOM?
You can find more information on the National Broadband Plan on the Department for Enterprise website.