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UPDATE Fibre GarDen Name ITS Technology as FTTP Broadband Supplier

Thursday, December 19th, 2013 (2:03 pm) - Score 772

The community Fibre GarDen (Digital Dales) project, which aims to build a new fibre optic (FTTP) based superfast broadband network to help connect rural homes in Garsdale and Dentdale (Cumbria, England), has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the ITS Technology Group to help build, deliver and manage the service.

The project last year became one of the first to be provisionally awarded funding of £157,500 under the £20m Rural Community Broadband Fund (here), which has since hit somewhat of a roadblock due to the refusal of BT and local authorities to release the required broadband speed and coverage data (needed in order to avoid network overbuilding).

Never the less Fibre GarDen claims to be “well on the way” to reaching their required funding target of £225,000 via a share offer, which they believe will “secure the super-fast fibre optic broadband project for both Garsdale and Dentdale“.

Lisa Harding, Account Director at ITS Technology, said:

This is very much a community project and ITS Technology Group are delighted to be working in partnership with such a dedicated and passionate team at Fibre GarDen. We are looking forward to helping all the residents of Garsdale and Dentdale finally gain access to resilient, high-speed and cost effective broadband.”

Tony Roberts, Financial Director and Secretary of Digital Dales, said:

The Fibre GarDen project has been one of the most exciting, time consuming but rewarding community projects that I have been involved in. Three years of hard work by all members, past and present, of the original Steering Group and then the newly formed Community Co-operative of Digital Dales (UK) Limited, has been well worth it. We are delighted to have been able to form this close partnership with ITS, who through a competitive tendering process, demonstrated the vast range of skills and experience they can bring to the project to ensure its long term success.”

Today’s development represents significant progress but the next stage, which will involve physically building the Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) broadband connectivity to “every property throughout Garsdale and Dentdale” (525 premises), is the real test.

UPDATE 7th January 2014

The share offer has successfully raised £155,000 of funds, which will be supported by an investment of £70,000 from ITS Technology to help achieve the primary funding target of £225,000.

A Fibre GarDen update said, “This means that the finance required to build a super fast fibre optic network throughout Garsdale and Dentdale has been raised and Fibre GarDen is in a position to proceed. The next phase of the project will be to complete discussions with DEFRA and the Connecting Cumbria Project in order to sign off contracts and confirm a build programme.”

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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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7 Responses
  1. Avatar Gadget

    Can’t quite see how some of the figures stack up…..http://www.digitaldales.com/share-offer/ says
    “We were the first broadband pilot in the country to receive a pre-contract grant offer from the government under the DEFRA/BDUK scheme, now amounting to 50% of project cost, circa £325,000, or £650 per premise;”

    Some clarification on how much the project in total is costing would be great

  2. The figures they put out or quote change so much, and often connect to different aspects, that it’s sometimes difficult to know which way is up. Match funding is also involved so it all gets a bit complex but you can find more here:

    http://fibre-garden.co.uk/doc/Fibre_Garden_State_Aid_Public_Consultation.pdf

    • Avatar Gadget

      Thanks – its just in preparation for the inevitable discussion on cost per premise compared with FTTC in Northern Ireland 🙂

  3. Avatar Jonus

    Great news that Fibre Garden is off the ground, so many times do much needed projects like this fail due to BT’s malicious meddling and funding either been withdrawn or the tollgate for success being set too high.
    Well done Fibre Garden, I am sure there are many many other projects wishing you the greatest of success. I dont know much about ITS but they look a very credible partner.

  4. Avatar Sledgehammer

    These small altnets are a thorn in the side for BT. Every house connected causes a loss of line rental to BT which they positively hate. Well done to FibreGarden and ITS.

  5. Avatar Silverback

    Really interested to see how this goes and how long it takes to go live. I wish I had the option of FTTP 🙁 Anybody know what services will be offered besides Internet?

  6. Avatar dragoneast

    Investment is all about making the financial case stack up. When we had state-led investment for utilities aiming for “fairness for all”, it cost a lot, was inefficient, and was subject to stop-go according to the state of the economy. Everybody said, why can’t we be more like entrepreneurial America? Well, now we are; a few big boys who hoover up everything in sight, localities doing their own thing with more or less success; and a widening divergence between the best and the rest. The benefits: things happen faster and cheaper, unless you are one of those left behind. So should those who can, get ahead; or should we wait for everybody to catch up? Frankly, there isn’t a choice; and as with these type of schemes you have to get up, get out, and play the modern game. Blaming BT, the government, or whoever does no good whatsoever. Nobody owes you anything.

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