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services provider, Itex. “Both islands are very well connected and have multiple telecommunication services putting their solutions in place.” This means that the Channel Islands

stand apart from similar jurisdictions, according to Graham Hughes, CEO of Cable & Wireless Communications in Jersey. “In terms of telecom infrastructure, the Channel Islands are extremely well served with submarine cable. They’re probably the best connected islands of their size,” he says. Jersey and Guernsey have multiple

telecom connections to the UK and Europe, and have seen significant network investment by Cable & Wireless Communications and Jersey Telecom. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how

much capacity these external connections have, but Chris Evans, Managing Director of Jersey-based data hosting company Foreshore, estimates that “Jersey’s capacity has gone from 4Gb over four [external] circuits, to 40Gb.” Although both islands’ data-carrying

capacity has grown, their stories over the last five years have been decidedly different in terms of internet capacity used. “In 2005, there was a level playing field between the Islands, with Jersey having an internet capacity of 400 Mb/s and Guernsey 350 Mb/s,” says Evans. “Since that time, however, Guernsey,

through the Alderney licensing of e-gaming, has upped its capacity to 10Gb, whereas Jersey now lags behind with a decidedly inferior 2Gb.” This contrast between the islands

is also reflected in the number of data centres they have: Guernsey has 14 compared with Jersey’s six. Although businesses in both islands are expanding their data centre capacity, it is clear where most of the activity lies. The development of the Guernsey Technology Park at Saltpans is set to increase this capacity even further by providing 16.5 acres of purpose-built accommodation for the technology industry.

Paying the price The importance of this disparity lies in the huge economies of scale provided on the bandwidth market. Guernsey’s e-gaming industry means the island buys far more bandwidth than Jersey and so is able to pass the benefits onto all customers in the form of cheaper broadband, private circuits and so on Jersey is now 30 per cent more expensive for telecom services than Guernsey and the Isle of Man, and for business internet services it’s a massive 200 per cent more expensive than in the UK, according to a States of Jersey paper. Although the islands have similar

physical infrastructures, it’s the amount

of use they receive which is defining the potential of the islands’ ICT sectors. “In Guernsey it’s big business that pays for broadband, whereas in Jersey it’s the individual user,” says Evans. “Guernsey and the Isle of Man will be better set for non-tax-dependent e-business than Jersey because of lower costs.” Jersey may be at a disadvantage

with costs, but Tim Ringsdore, Managing Director of Jersey Telecom’s Global Enterprise division, is optimistic that the islands can both have attractive, faster broadband services.“The Gigabit Isles initiative brings aggressive development of a fibre network to businesses and homes. Our strategy is to extend fibre to the home and provide the Channel Islands with the fastest broadband network in the world in the next five years. We want to attract other businesses in the IT space.” It seems however, that without the economics of cheaper bandwidth in place, Jersey will find it hard to become a digital hub and develop ICT as an economic diversifier. Chris Clark of Prosperity 247 explains that the game is about momentum. “The more services we provide, the more attractive the islands become to high-value, low-impact industries,” he explains – but he also has a word of warning: “The technology industry is very nomadic and people will go to where they’re looked after.”

“In terms of telecom infrastructure, the Channel Islands are extremely well served… They’re probably the best-connected islands of their size”

April/May 2011 43

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