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WightFibre is the cable network operator on the Isle of Wight. WightFibre provides telephone and broadband internet services. It is the last remaining cable company in the UK which is not part of Virgin Media which, since March 2006, has operated more than 95% of cable services in the UK.
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|WightCable, Isle of Wight Cable & Telephone Company|
Historically WightFibre has operated a hybrid fibre-coaxial network (HFC) service around 25% of the Island. In November 2017 WightFibre secured £35M of funding from Infracapital Parners (ICP, part of M&G Investments) matched funded by private investors and the UK Governments Digital Infrastructure Fund. This funding is allowing WightFibre to upgrade its HFC network to a full-fibre (Fibre to the Premise(FTTP)) network and to extend coverage to around 60,000 homes on the island.
WightFibre's Gigabit Island project commenced in Autumn 2018. By January 2019 the rollout of the new full fibre network was in full flow. The first 50,000 homes are expected to be complete by December 2020. Broadband speeds of up to 900Mb are on offer.
The Isle of Wight Cable and Telephone Company (IOWCTC) was formed in 2000 and commenced offering service on the island in January 2001. IOWCTC was taken over by CLS Holdings in 2002 and rebranded to Wightcable. CLS Holdings sold the assets of Wightcable to private investors in 2005 who formed WightCable (2005) Ltd. New branding was introduced, services upgraded and internet speeds increased. When Virgin Media acquired Smallworld in 2014 this left WightFibre as the sole independent UK cable company.
In 2012, WightCable changed its name to WightFibre, promising increased internet speeds up to 100Mbit/s, and introducing IPTV with high-definition channels and on-demand services. A £500,000 investment saw the launch of 50Mb broadband in July 2012, 100Mb broadband in September 2012 and 152Mb broadband in 2013. The company advertised heavily and returned to growth in October 2012. A small scale trial of the company's new IP based TV service was held in Nov & Dec 2012 but technical difficulties and difficulties in striking content agreements led to the cancellation of the project in 2013.
In February 2013 WightFibre was acquired by Keith Young, a serial entrepreneur who was also an original investor in Easynet (since purchased by Sky). The management team remained in place and the company's strategy remained unchanged. Keith Young invested in the company to accelerate the turnaround. WightFibre has partnered with two Isle of Wight-based wireless operators – Click4Internet and Wight Wireless – to extend island coverage with plans to improve that coverage to provide speeds of 50Mb to 80Mb throughout the island. In 2015 WightFibre acquired Click4Internet.
In November 2017 WightFibre was acquired by Infracapital Partners as part of its' £35M investment in the company.