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Island broadband speeds among fastest in world

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JERSEY has one of the fastest broadband speeds in the world, placing it above the United States, Japan and tech-specialist Estonia, according to a new international league table.

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (21959208)

The Island has climbed four places to tenth position in a league table compiled by UK telecoms advisory service Cable, which ranks the broadband speeds of 200 countries worldwide.

However, local experts are saying that, following the completion of JT’s fibre network on Friday, Jersey may already have overtaken table leader Singapore, which was ranked first with a download speed of 60.39 megabits per second.

And, with new Chief Minister John Le Fondré yet to discuss digital policy with his team, the politician formerly responsible for digital has warned that it must be given the right support as a priority.

The Cable rankings, which also show that Jersey placed significantly higher than the UK, Guernsey and the Isle of Man with a download speed of 30.9 megabits per second, used data gathered during the 12-month period leading up to 29 March.

Daragh McDermott, JT’s corporate affairs director, said that he was pleased to see Jersey’s position increase in Cable’s rankings.

He added: ‘However, with our full-fibre gigabit-speed network now completed, it’s likely that we’ve already moved to the very top of the leader-board since these rankings were created. As the data shows, our download speeds more than doubled in May, the last month that was tested, but they have continued to increase. We now guarantee a download speed of 250 megabits per second to our customers and this will rise even further over the summer.’

Although the news has been welcomed by local experts, it is still unclear whether Senator Le Fondré is intending to allocate the same level of political support for the digital economy as his predecessor did.

Former Chief Minister Ian Gorst’s administration oversaw the creation of the States’ telecoms strategy, the cyber security strategy and the digital policy framework, which set out the objectives and principles designed to shape the government’s approach to digital policy for the next decade.

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When asked about his government’s digital priorities, Senator Le Fondré said that the Council of Ministers would soon be discussing the issue. ‘The digital sector is an important part of Jersey’s economy and is being given high priority. Ministers haven’t yet formally discussed how this sector will be overseen, but it is one of the next issues on our agenda.’

Deputy Scott Wickenden, the politician who held the post of Assistant Minister for Digital under the last government, warned that action must be taken sooner rather than later. ‘It is now more important than ever that we have a political champion for the digital sector. With the completion of fibre, everything is now in place, which means it is imperative that we have the right support from government. We need to bring forward policy decisions that will help achieve further growth in this area.’

With every Jersey address now connected to the fibre network, the first of the government’s Future Jersey strategy goals has been achieved. Chris Knight, head of business development at Digital Jersey, welcomed the Cable rankings as a sign of the Island’s potential to develop its digital economy.

‘Jersey is already recognised as a world leader in internet download speeds, which provides strong foundations for the future of our Island’s economy,’ he said. ‘I would expect us to climb to the top end of the league table, especially now that every single broadband connection in Jersey benefits from access to a full-fibre gigabit speed network.’

M-Lab, the consortium responsible for collecting the data for the league table, includes New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research and Princeton University.

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