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UK Fibre ISP Gigaclear Calls for More Predictable and Useful BDUK Contract

Monday, November 4th, 2013 (1:50 am) - Score 2,895
fibre optic and ethernet network cables

Q6. Gigaclear recently added Fluidata’s Service Exchange Platform to its network, which in theory should give some homes and businesses (i.e. those covered by your fibre platform) access to a much larger selection of ISPs.

Can you tell us a little more about how this works from a customer’s perspective. For example, can somebody order Sky Broadband’s £10 a month unlimited ADSL2+ service or the same sort of product from TalkTalk and if so then how does that work over your fibre infrastructure?

ANSWER:

The partnership with Fluidata allows us to more easily bring additional ISP’s onto our network. Fluidata acts as a wholesale gateway for ISP’s to sell their services over carriers networks. For Gigaclear that means that we publish our products and services at wholesale prices (as other wholesale networks do) to these other ISP’s together with our actual and planned coverage areas. Customers of these ISP’s, when entering their post code can see what choices of services are available at their property.

The Fluidata partnership allows this process to happen transparently so that the customer need not know who the actual infrastructure provider is, they just know there is a choice of services, fibre and copper based, and what they will cost. As Fluidata expand their ISP relationships and we expand our footprint, we expect more ISPs to offer service using our network infrastructure.

Q7. The government was recently forced by EU competition concerns to scrap the broadband infrastructure aspect of its £150m Urban Broadband Fund for 22 cities around the UK. Instead this has been replaced by a voucher scheme that helps businesses connect to superfast broadband by covering their installation costs. Do you think this is the best use for that money?

ANSWER:

If you accept the argument that funds from general taxation should be distributed to enable businesses to get access to better broadband, then Vouchers are a sensible method to use in areas where competitive infrastructure providers already operate.

Q8. Finally, reports last year suggested that Gigaclear had held discussions with 150 rural communities about expanding the reach of your fibre optic network into their respective areas. What’s the current situation and how far do you see Gigaclear expanding its fibre network in the future, especially given the growing pressure from BT and BDUK funding?

ANSWER:

Our pipeline of communities showing interest in our service is constantly growing, we have some 400 now requesting our presence. As and when the county plans evolve we will see some of those communities not require our services, and we expect to see more approaching us when they become aware of what, if any upgrade they are to see and when. Many, but not all of the communities we are engaged with are outside the BDUK intervention areas, we expect to have 30 networks in operation by the end of next year.

It is important to note that communities still have a choice – they don’t have to take the county/BDUK upgrade plan if they don’t think it will make sufficient impact to the community or its businesses, perhaps due to a lack of cabinets or their location being between rather than within the communities they serve. Gigaclear and other altnets will happily work with communities and business parks where there is quantifiable demand for better broadband. When Gigaclear builds a network using its own funds, the county is able to then remove that area from their BDUK funded intervention plan and reallocate the subsidy elsewhere in the county. This then becomes a win for the community or business park and a win for the county.

End.

Thanks to Joe for taking the time out to help with our interview.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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19 Responses
  1. Avatar New_Londoner

    Interesting questions and responses.

    No real answer to question 6 “can somebody order Sky Broadband’s £10 a month unlimited ADSL2+ service or the same sort of product from TalkTalk and if so then how does that work over your fibre infrastructure?”, so presumably the real answer there was no? This is important if you want a choice of service providers, including at least some of the well known national providers.

    • Avatar gerarda

      @New Londoner – what choice of service provider is there when Openreach decide not to install a cabinet?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      gerarda that is a totally different question, how is that relevant at all? New Londoners question is a valid one, lets stick with that?

    • Avatar Gerarda

      @fibrefred
      Its as valid as New Londoner’s. Alternatives to BT in the BDUK process were ruled out on spurious open access grounds but that has simply led to a situation where BT have a state subsidy but can still decide whether or not to offer a service in that area. No service =no sky broadband.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      The alternatives to BT in the BDUK process – would they have offered Sky broadband?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Gerarda Hmm I get what you are saying but I still see it as different. We are talking about someone physically providing a service to a customer and having the ability to offer it out wholesale to others. You are talking about something a bit different.

    • Avatar Gerarda

      @the facts The BDUK process was designed to ensure that this question remained hypothetical.

      @fibrefred The end result to the user is still the same.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      No it’s quite simply not.

      I’m not sure why you keep making comparisons that are not relevant to anything , simply to get the boot into BT?

    • Avatar gerarda

      @ fibre fred – so how does the end result differ?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Why because one of the options gives a user “something”

      New_Londonder (and Mark) asked if Gigaclear could provide a cheap service to wholesale to Sky, the answer looks like a no

      So basically the customer would end up with a choice of one for their service provider, i.e. Gigaclear.

      You come along and compare it to getting nothing at all from BT as they wouldn’t supply a cabinet at all.

      So the first example gives the end customer a service but a choice of one, the second gives them no service at all.

      But you some how think they are both the same???

  2. @New Londoner actually I thought the answer given was pretty clear.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      It was, but it didn’t answer the question that was asked.

    • Yes it was a bit of an evasive answer as we wanted to gain a real idea of what people could actually receive but it’s still not clear.

    • Avatar Gerarda

      @ new londoner

      Its a lot less evasive than BT’s response to how they are going to complete their BDUK contracts for premises beyond the reach of their FTTC roll out and what choice of services these are going to receive.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Gerarda
      Interesting point but not relevant to this story, which is an interview with Gigaclear. I think it is reasonable to have clarity on which ISPs offer service over its network, note that both I and Mark J concluded this question went unanswered. I make no comment other than to note this is the case and that it presumably means neither of the two named ISPs do in fact use the network.

      Perhaps an actual Gigaclear customer could confirm what the actual situation is as I find hard facts generally inform the debate.

  3. Avatar Diplodicus

    The lack of access to these two major ISPs is due to the costs to these large organisations of amending their software-based order fulfilment systems to accommodate what is likely to remain for the foreseeable a “small” network operator with a highly-dispersed customer base.

  4. Avatar Diplodicus

    The two being Sky and Virgin.

  5. Avatar fastman

    Gerarda

    assuming your exchange is enabled and not covered under BDUK then why not look at gap funding the cabinet in the same was as other villages and business parks have so it is enabled

  6. Thanks for the interview, its interesting to read how companies like Gigaclear work.

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