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Isle of Sark aims to lead the digital revolution

The Fortune 500 list of companies requires you to be turning over more than $12 Billion to even be considered for inclusion. To give you a sense of scale, the biggest component company in our industry is Asus – and they only JUST satisfy that criteria. So what can an island nation of 500 people and no cars deliver?  KitGuru dons paddling shorts and heads for the tiniest of the Channel Islands, Sark.

Colin Kniveton is one of the brightest sparks from the local government on the Isle of Mann – half way from Blackpool to Belfast with a population of 83,000. As part of his career development, his boss decided to send Colin on an expedition to the Isle of Sark – off the coast of France with a population of almost 600 and not a car anywhere in sight.

At 3 miles long and half a mile wide, it might not seem imposing, but Colin believes that (with a little kick from central government) it could become a world leader in the digital revolution. We’re gonna forget any temptation to say that ‘Once that first phone line gets connected, the people or Sark will becomes serious contenders’ – instead we’re going to be optimistic and consider how simple it could be to re-train the 600 people who live there and bang in some fibre optic connections to create a 21st century mega-tech-village situation.

The limited size of the population might be down to the fact that the north and south of Sark are connected by a narrow strip of land, 300 feet long (91 metres), with a sheer drop down each side. In the past, there was no railing and children would get blown off by the wind. Now that railing is in place, maybe we can expect a mini population explosion.

Strangely, the tiny island has a connection with tech-money already. Despite its size, it actually acts as the control mechanism from a smaller island called Brecqhou. Technically, Brecqhou is a private island owned by the Barclay brothers – who also own the Daily Telegraph. Globally, the Telegraph is one of the largest sites around – with monthly traffic in the region of 60 million unique IPs.

With a fortune of more than £2 billion at their disposal, and the visionary endorsement of Colin Kniveton from Her Majesty’s government in the Isle of Mann, maybe Sark can become the next Singapore.

While ground rates are quite high (around £4k a year), the cost to buy a beautiful 16th century, 4 bedroom house with spectacular views is only £130,000.

Wonderful housing is cheap, Billionaire publishers own chunks of the surrounding land, there are only 600 people to re-train: So can Sark become a 21st century tech cauldron and really establish itself on the map (albeit with 'zoom set to max')?

KitGuru says: In the UK, the social cost of healthcare for people with the most complicated problems, is estimated at anything up to £250,000 a year. For the people of Sark, that £250k would buy a PC per person and some training. Surely all it would take is a little vision/will power from the Barclay brothers and Sark would catapult itself forward. Just for laughs, we’re gonna categorise this story under the heading ‘channel’.

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