A rock and a tardy place

Posted by Peter Cochrane on May 14, 2010

14 May 2010, Peter Cochrane, www.360itevent.com

The island of Jersey is a 9-by-5-mile rock just 12 miles off the Normandy coast, with a population of nearly 92,000. They not only enjoy low taxes and a temperate climate, but broadband speeds in excess of 10Mbit/s that reach well over 50% of the population. Most of the island also has 3G data coverage at up to 7.2Mbit/s and free WiFi is plentiful too. By most measures Jersey would qualify as one of the leaders in the G8 if it were a member.

For sure Jersey appears to punch well above its weight on many counts. The majority of businesses enjoy direct optical fibre connection to the network, and 1Gbit/s is available on request. Their Next Generation Network is built on Gigabit Ethernet and is wholly fibre-based. Along with the rest of the Channel Islands, Jersey is well connected to the mainland of France and the UK by undersea optical fibre cables.

Sound like heaven? Well it should, because the recently appointed chief executive of Jersey Telecom (Graeme Millar) just announced that they are launching a Gbit/s to the home program across the island. This has generated a huge amount of blogging with positive and negative views:

http://www.thisisjersey.com/2010/04/30/internet-speeds-to-beat-the-world/

But it sure looks like the right move to me, and it will put Jersey up with the world leaders in high-speed Internet - Japan, Korea, China et al - and make them the only real contender from the western world. Soon the occupants of the island will be living in the 21st century, with compelling cloud computing and other new digital services that won't be available in the UK and the rest of Europe.

Meanwhile, the tardy attitude of the UK to implementing similar broadband provision means we will will continue to drag behind the pack, struggling to make it out of the 20th century and into the 21st.

Peter Cochrane (OBE) is a respected technology business guru and co-founder of Cochrane Associates.