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FAQs

All you need to know about Guernsey Fibre

 

What is fibre?

‘Fibre’ is shorthand for fibre optic cabling. A fibre optic cable consists of tiny tubes, each tube as thick as a human hair.

They are reflective on the inside and transfer information by sending flashes of light that are interpreted as data. It’s much more reliable and very quick compared to other technologies such as copper.

Removing copper cabling and providing end-to-end fibre connectivity ensures consistency of performance and enables services to be introduced and expanded without the need for any physical upgrades to the fibre that connects to your household or business premises. 

Fibre connectivity ensures that network speeds are maintained from the internet all the way to your premises with no loss of performance. It also increases capacity, so your connection can run multiple devices and online services at the same time, with no drop in performance.

Why does Guernsey need fibre?

All of our lives are becoming increasingly digital and internet services are more vital than ever so it’s essential that network performance and connection speeds are able to deal with our island’s future demand.  Guernsey Fibre is going to cover the whole island with superfast broadband, bringing the possibility of true 1 gigabit-per-second coverage to all meaning that meaning multiple users in the same house can play games online, shop, download films, work, stay in touch with friends and listen to music all at the same time.

How does a fibre broadband network enhance Guernsey’s economy?

Guernsey Fibre is a crucial project that will help boost the island’s economic and social prospects, and one we are hugely proud to deliver.  The fibre broadband rollout is a massive engineering project, and we will use local suppliers wherever possible, meaning millions of pounds spent with Guernsey businesses and the creation of around 75 jobs. It will allow digital businesses to thrive and have the flexibility to be based anywhere on the island, expanding economic possibilities and fostering creativity and entrepreneurialism. The uplift in productivity from the ability to work seamlessly from anywhere is expected to provide a 1.1% boost to the economy, all thanks to Guernsey Fibre.*

* Source: FTTH Council (2014) – “providing full fibre to just half of all premises could result in a 1.1% rise in annual GDP” 

What is the States of Guernsey role in the project ?

Guernsey Fibre represents an investment of £37.5m. This Sure project is being carried out in partnership with the States of Guernsey who are providing a capped investment of up to £12.5m. The States of Guernsey’s investment will enable Sure to accelerate the programme and to ensure that that there is fibre for everyone within the timeframe

What are the benefits of fibre?

A full fibre to the home connection will be faster, more stable and more reliable than a mixed fibre and copper network (which we have at the moment).

Fibre connectivity ensures that networking speeds are maintained from the internet all the way to your premises with no loss of performance. It also increases capacity, so your connection can run multiple devices and online services at the same time, with no drop in performance.

What is the difference between fibre and 5G?

5G is a mobile technology that involves signals being transmitted from antenna to antenna to provide a mobile network. Fibre is a wired connection that runs from our central exchange to

your home. Both are next-generation technologies that will provide faster speeds and more reliable connections.

Is fibre eco friendly?

Fibre is a more sustainable option. The amount of energy needed to send light through a fibre optic cable is considerably less than what is needed to transmit an electrical signal through copper cables, so there will also be emissions savings. This project will make Sure’s broadband both more efficient and more environmentally friendly.  

How long will the roll out take?

Installing fibre broadband around the island is a huge and exciting undertaking. The project officially launched on 19 April 2022 and the rollout is targeted for completion by the end of 2026.

Switching to fibre

Can I pay for priority installation?

Sorry, this won’t be possible as we’re working in pockets rather than parish-by-parish.

Fibre is currently being installed to the big five telecoms exchanges on the island and will then be expanded from there.  

Who will I need to sign up with if I want to switch to fibre?

Sure is installing the fibre broadband network, futureproofing Guernsey’s telecoms infrastructure for decades to come. Much like the current broadband network Sure’s new fibre network will also be available to other service providers on a fair and equitable basis, meaning you will still have choice when it comes to connecting with fibre.

When my home is eligible for fibre, do I have to switch over?

No, you are not obliged to switch over, but if you do want to have a landline or broadband connection you will need to move from copper to fibre – not immediately, but after a 12-month window from the time your home has been made ‘fibre-ready’.

When is the copper network going to be deactivated? How long do I have to switch over?

You will be contacted by your service provider as soon as your home is fibre-ready. You’ll then have a year from that date to take up a monthly fee from any Guernsey telecoms service provider. You’ll have plenty of time to switch and we’ll provide clear communication to those that are ready to do this.

If you don’t want to move to fibre immediately (as your property is empty for example), you can sign up to a monthly plan at any point in the future but there will be a connection fee to do this (£135). After a year of your house being fibre-ready, the copper network will be deactivated, so we’d recommend switching over as soon as possible.

What are the incentives for switching over immediately?

There’s a financial discount to switching over within the first six months that your property is ‘fibre-ready’. It often gives people the next speed up for the price of the lower speed. Guernsey Fibre sets the speeds people can connect to, and the telecoms providers set their own prices – and their websites have details. 

 

How long does it take to get connected to the network?

We’re doing everything we can to make the switch over as easy as possible for everyone and we’re doing a lot of work in the background – as this is arguably Guernsey’s biggest ever infrastructure project. There are a lot of stages involved from carrying out work underground in ducts (pipes) to climbing up telegraph poles to get to overhead cables so that we can link up fibre from the exchanges directly to every islander’s home. We’re also still testing and learning as we go. 

There are two parts to the installation process in the customer’s home – a Pre-Installation Visit in the home to check where the cabling can go, check it is next to a double electrical plug socket and to make sure the router and any mesh system is optimal for the amazing speeds that fibre has – and of course agree all of this with you to ensure you are happy. This takes around an hour.

Then, up to two weeks later, the second stage will begin. A Guernsey Fibre engineer (or two) comes to your home to connect the ‘optical network terminal’ (ONT) and configure your equipment. The goal is to install this neatly in a place that’s pre agreed, and within a few hours have you switched on to superfast fibre speeds.

How much does it cost to switch to fibre?

Fibre installation is free.

Then there are five different speeds available. The lowest speed (which is still a consistently fast 30 Megabits per second) costs no more than the current basic broadband option - but you’ll be getting a better product for the same price as you pay now.

Ultrafast speeds, free installation, and greater reliability are just some of the reasons to switch to fibre.

If I have an existing broadband package, do I have to pay termination fees to switch over?

There’s no installation fee or termination fee to switch over. There is only a reconnection fee if you don’t want to switch to fibre within a year of being offered fibre, and the copper service being retired.

Is the switchover process disruptive?

We are doing all we can to keep disruption to a minimum.

If you are at home, you may notice our Sure vans and engineers in the road and that’s it. This is because around 30% of Guernsey homes have an overhead cable connected to a telegraph pole – which we will swap for a covered fibre cable.

Of the other 70%, most of these homes will have a duct that the fibre cable can be fed into through a maintenance cover in the road.

Some buildings with ‘multiple dwellings’ (flats or wings), may need a bit of extra interior cabling work but this won’t be invasive.

A small percentage of homes with much older cables that are buried and not in ducts (pipes) may need a cable placing underground at the front of their property – but we will do this in the most disciplined way and aim to have it completed in one day. 

One of the reasons we’re working in lots of pockets around the island is so that we can coincide any road closures with other utility companies and the States of Guernsey’s Traffic and Highway Services.

 

What has customer feedback been like so far?

The feedback has been fantastic! Our engineers are getting a 95% customer satisfaction rating for how clean and tidy their work is from hundreds of homes connected so far.

They also rated fibre overall 8.9 out of 10, the installation process 9.5 out of 10 and the speed 8.8 out of 10.

Comments from customers included:  

 

  • “Ordering fibre was simple.”
  • “I was very impressed with the staff and how well everything was explained. Great service.”
  • “The team did a great job and potentially went above their role to ensure I was happy with the installation.”
  • “The engineer who provided the survey appointment and the installation was so informative and polite. He was very patient and helpful with all our questions. Great service.”
Do I need to buy new routers and modems to get fibre to work properly?

It’s best to have a router that is capable to take the fibre speed that you are signing up to. If you’ve got a newer router (bought in the last two years) this should be compatible so there’s no need to swap. Older routers may need upgrading and telecoms providers do sell these. If you want the highest speed possible then you’ll want to optimise your 1 Gbps speed and get a router that is capable of more than 1 Gb – as the ‘optical network terminal’ (ONT) box and the router themselves take some of the bandwidth. 

 

Fibre services in a power cut

Will emergency service numbers work in case of a power outage with fibre?

By default, fibre landlines, Lifeline health alarms, and broadband services will not operate during a power cut, unless battery backup equipment provided by Guernsey Fibre has been installed in your home.

Please note that without a battery backup unit in place during a power cut, you would not be able to call the emergency services from your landline.

Mobile services will be unaffected and will work for as long as operationally possible.

You should also be aware that regardless of whether your landline is provided via the traditional copper network or via the new Guernsey Fibre network, any cordless telephones (‘DECT’ units, not mobile phones) will not operate during a power cut.

Should you be reliant on your landline, please ensure that you have at least one corded telephone connected to your landline. 

 

Battery backup eligibility

By default, fibre landlines, Lifeline health alarms and broadband services will not operate during a power cut, unless battery backup equipment provided by Guernsey Fibre has been installed in your home.

If you order a fibre service, a Guernsey Fibre engineer will undertake a Pre-Installation Visit to your home. During that visit they will ask you to complete a short checklist, to assess if you are entitled to a free battery backup unit:

• Whether any household is appreciably more likely to require the emergency services, including anyone who has a Lifeline health alarm

• Whether any householder or a household member has a medical condition/disability that could present severe consequences if they could not contact the emergency services

• Whether a householder lives alone AND has limited mobility or a visual or mental impairment that could hamper their ability to seek help in a emergency

• Whether there is no mobile signal within the premises, or whether any householder or household member is not readily able to use a mobile phone.

Once you have completed the short checklist, the engineer will be able to tell you whether you qualify for a free battery backup unit.

You are not required to have one installed, if you would prefer not to. 

 

Battery backup lifespan


All battery backup units provided by Guernsey Fibre have an estimated lifespan of six years and apart from periodic testing by a householder (ideally monthly), no maintenance should be required.

In case of any issues with a battery backup unit provided by Guernsey Fibre, please call on 01481 700900 (during normal office hours).

 

Can I buy a battery backup unit?

A battery backup unit is available for free to all eligible customers (see above) and to all other Guernsey customers, on a chargeable basis.

If you would like one, just let the Guernsey Fibre engineer know when they visit you. If a unit is installed at the same time as your fibre service, the charge is £26.85.

Should the engineer need to undertake a specific visit (after your fibre service has been installed), the charge is £59.35.