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Gigaclear Secure Cash to Substantially Boost Rural Fibre Broadband Roll Out

Friday, November 23rd, 2012 (9:13 am) - Score 1,034

UK ISP Gigaclear (Rutland Telecom) has successfully secured enough equity financing to “substantially accelerate” the roll-out of its ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) based broadband networks into more rural communities.

The provider has already made headlines once this week after announcing that its 100Mbps+ service was now available to 400 homes in the civil parish villages of Appleton and Eaton in Oxfordshire (England). On top of that it’s already built a similar network in the Rutland community of Hambleton (not to mention its six other rural community networks using slower wireless and DSL technologies).

Matthew Hare, CEO of Gigaclear, said:

Gigaclear has successfully proven the level of demand for high speed internet in rural and semi-rural areas and has developed a business model which enables it to offer sensible returns to investors.

It is now about rolling-out to more communities. The additional balance sheet strength we now have in place should secure Gigaclear’s position at the forefront of rural broadband development.”

So far 150 rural communities are said to be in discussions with Gigaclear, although the ISP currently only has firm plans for a further four networks in Oxfordshire communities where “substantial pre-orders have already been taken” (plus one extra community in Rutland). All are now scheduled for construction over the next few months.

The funding secured has apparently already exceeded Gigaclear’s “minimum requirement” to fund the community builds, yet the ISP intends to hold open its offer to investors on the same terms for a limited period so that it can potentially use the new funding to reach even more areas.

Precise details of where the service will go remain unconfirmed, although Gigaclear’s website is seeking interest from residents and businesses in Boars Hill, Fyfield & Tubney (already told to expect FTTH in 2013), Stanton Harcourt and Sutton, Kingston Bagpuize & Southmoor, Frilford and Frilford Heath, Otmoor (Make Islip, Noke, Woodeaton, Elsfield and Beckley) and parts of West Tytherley.

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8 Responses
  1. Avatar Bob says:

    No indication of costs. It would be interesting to see how the costs pan out on this and how much subsidy it receives. The scale of the project tends to indicate it is little more than a pilot scheme at present.

  2. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

    That’s how alternative networks start, Bob. They don’t just appear out of nowhere with plans to pass 500,000 homes.

  3. Avatar Cynic says:

    The problem seems to me that you either get umpteen 100Mbps+ from Gigaclear at £40/month or plain old 1.0mbps ADSLmax from BT.
    (Actually the Gigaclear scheme is guaranteed minimum of 10Mbps symmetrical bursting up to 1000Mbps)

    Presumably in those villages which take up the Gigaclear FTTH service, neither BT or BDUK will put in FTTC in the future.
    So the villagers would seem to be locked into Gigaclear for the service/ISP the router/wireless unit and everything else……for evermore.
    At which point presumably Gigaclear can crank up the prices into the stratosphere knowing they have captive customers with no options at all.

    Meanwhile the rest of us will eventually get FTTC and will have freedome of choise to choose our ISP, service level, wireless router etc.

    You know what – I really hope Gigaclear DON’T come round my area touting for business.

    1. Avatar Stephane says:

      Hi Cynic,

      The problem is the area covered by Gigaclear are market 1, captive market for Openreach on ADSL 1 (or worst), with small exchanges in which BT as no interest in investing. Even under BDUK they are likely to be at the bottom of the pile (ie: 2Mb).

      Those exchanges are not in the FTTC upgrade plans (published list) at all. As long as there is no alternative BT won’t do f* all on those.

      But if you are lucky enough to get BT Openreach installs FTTC in your area you are still a captive customer to them… whichever ISP you go for they rely on Openreach infrastructure.

      So between BT not investing in rural areas and Gigaclear investing in innovating FTTH, my choice is clear… Gigaclear anytime.

      If Gigaclear comes to you area, you have no obligation to sign up, you could stay an happy Openreach customer at <2Mb….

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      I think Cynic’s point was that with Gigaclear your choice of ISP is… Gigaclear only so its a choice of one pricing model.

      Elsewhere there are multiple ISP’s to choose from

      I believe Gigaclear does provide Wholesale access but I don’t know of any other ISP’s that use Gigaclear so your choice as a customer is very limited.

  4. Avatar Chris Conder says:

    Excellent news, and highly deserved. Those villages would never have got a decent connection without gigaclear intervention. Its great to see an altnet being helped in this way, and hopefully they will go from strength to strength and provide true next generation access for the next generations and beyond. Unlike those on FTTC who will always be throttled and capped on their thin phone lines. I disagree with the cynic, he is describing what has happend with being tied to the copper monopoly, which cranks up the prices as soon as you start to use the service for what it was meant for. Many have signed up to cheap ISPs and deals, but as soon as the kids get on their data charges grow and they have to move to ‘higher tariff’. Its time this monopoly was broken, and other ISPs have another source other than openreach.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Sigh I will say it again in the vain hope this time it will go in ,throttling and caps are nothing to do with copper ,they exist on fibre also even your very own b4rn

    2. Avatar Gadget says:

      It seems that extras (http://www.gigaclear.com/full-price-list/) and the potential to raise prices is not restricted to any one ISP or infrastructure provider.
      Indeed even Gigaclear have an Acceptable Usages policy (http://www.gigaclear.com/acceptable-use-policy/) which includes the phrase “Most Gigaclear accounts do not have a usage cap. If your account has a cap, then when you reach the cap your service will be restricted.” After all they are a business as well.
      That said it is good to see that they are actually delivering fibre services to homes and I wish them well.

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