The final IoD breakfast seminar of 2022 closed with a rallying cry to business leaders to consider how they can transform their sectors and services to take advantage of the faster broadband speeds that will result from a full-fibre network. The audience was urged to do this strategic work now to take full advantage of the higher speeds which will soon be widely available.
The session focused on the economic benefits and digital opportunities for Guernsey following the completion of the fibre rollout in 2026. Justin Bellinger, Guernsey Chief Executive of Sure, Daragh McDermott, Chief Executive Officer of JT and Yulia Kossykh, Associate Director of Frontier Economics joined moderator James Ede Golightly at the breakfast seminar.
Justin Bellinger stressed that the fibre rollout must be ‘ubiquitous and equitable’, and the panel returned to the theme of people throughout the session.
‘The greater good for Guernsey is for everyone to be connected, this is the future,’ stated Daragh McDermott. Benefits include a positive, progressive message to share on the world stage, innovation enablement and workforce flexibility. However, he stressed that the island would benefit from a faster approach to the rollout of fibre and transparency in reporting its progress.
In an era where access to fast broadband speeds at home and in the office is becoming more common around the world, Guernsey can leverage this advantage to position the island as an attractive place to do business. Equally, it will attract digitally literate workers to the island, and allow Guernsey to benefit from the growing ‘digital nomad’ workforce.
Positively, it was noted that today’s technology means the rollout requires a lower investment than in previous years.
Yulia highlighted that fibre delivers faster up and download speeds; it is more resilient, less expensive to maintain and more reliable for customers. SMEs especially benefit from full fibre rollout because they typically cannot afford to invest in alternative connectivity.
The audience was reminded that the telecom companies themselves can’t directly foster innovation - that’s for businesses and entrepreneurs to take on- but the technology and connectivity provided by the fibre rollout will underpin and facilitate their efforts.
Benefits flowing to business include access to virtual reality technologies or the metaverse, which will become more important to online retail or fitness, for example. However, Yulia also stressed that the choice of speeds and price was critical, ‘it’s important to listen to consumers.’
It was noted that having a digitally skilled workforce was essential for the island to take advantage of fibre’s benefits. The European Union is investing billions of euros to support new digital upskilling and reskilling programmes, and Daragh praised the work being done by the Digital Greenhouse locally.
People and economy aside, there are also environmental benefits to a full-fibre network, such as the reduced need to commute, energy efficiency and the enablement of internet of things technology, such as smart roads.
Thank you to our 2022 breakfast sponsor, Butterfield, and our Annual Digital Sponsor, JT.
If you missed the opportunity to attend or watch this morning’s session, you can watch it again here.