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Gigaclear Scrap FTTP Plan for Rural Wiltshire Areas Due to BDUK and BT

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 (10:23 am) - Score 1,613

Fibre optic broadband ISP Gigaclear (Rutland Telecom) has scrapped its tentative plan to build a 1000Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network in the Dun Valley or Tytherleys (Wiltshire, England) after the local state aid funded Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT project confirmed that it would also be doing them using slower FTTC.

At present the Wiltshire BDUK project anticipates that BT’s FTTC/P network coverage will reach 91% by the end of March 2016 (latest update), although Gigaclear did not initially appear to expect that their two areas would also be a part of the BDUK development.

Matthew Hare, Gigaclears CEO, said (Thinkbroadband):

It is really quite a surprise to us the GWB have made the announcement that they have. We have kept them fully informed of where we are engaged with communities and making progress on securing the demand we need to make what is a sizeable capital investment.

Given the scope of the job that they have to do and their limited funding, you would think that it would be in their interests (GWB, ratepayers, taxpayers and BDUK) to prioritise areas where there is no realistic chance of commercial NGA, rather than prioritise the areas where there is a reasonable chance of a commercial solution.”

The situation carries with it echoes of the controversial dispute between B4RN, BT and the Lancashire County Council in Dolphinholme (here). Similarly B4RN claims to have kept the council informed about its plan to deploy a fibre optic network in Dolphinholme since long before the local BDUK project began and yet BT have now begun to deploy FTTP in the same community, which they claim is part of their “jointly funded fibre” roll-out with LCC.

Statement from the Dun Valley Broadband Project

The announcement by Wiltshire Council today that they will, after all, apply public funds to the installation of BT’s ‘Fibre to the Cabinet’ technology in Pitton, Farley, East and West Grimstead and Winterslow, – which still of course depends on the existing copper telephone lines to reach the home – means that the Gigaclear plan no longer makes commercial sense for their investors.

This is a very disappointing and surprising outcome to a long fight to bring superior fibre-to the-home technology to our villages. The campaign was well supported by local residents, with several hundred confirmed orders achieved.”

On the one hand it’s good to see that locals in the related areas will at least be getting better connectivity, although once again it raises vital questions over why state aid is being used in communities where there is already a strong prospect for improvement via commercial investment.

Gigaclear now hopes that they can encourage the local authority to shift the related areas into a later phase of their scheme and thus allow them time to finalise their commercial solution, which they believe would free up the public funds to help expand coverage in other parts of the county (i.e. where Gigaclear has no plans to go). But it remains to be seen whether such an aspiration can be turned into reality.

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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 Sledgehammer

    “On the one hand it’s good to see that locals in the related areas will at least be getting better connectivity, although once again it raises vital questions over why state aid is being used in communities where there is already a strong prospect for improvement via commercial investment.”

    In a word it sucks.

    BT are in a panic over the loss of customers line rental, also loss of any other package they could sell to those customers.

  2. Avatar dragoneast

    Isn’t this inevitable when most of us vote only with our wallets: “Never mind the quality, what’s the cheapest?”. All the players respond accordingly.

  3. Avatar buyer beware

    What is happening with Gigaclear Otmoor? Gigaclear website says scheme is going ahead for Beckley, Elsfield, Horton-Cum-Studley, Noke, Stanton St. John and Woodeaton. At one stage the website said Noke was pursuing a ‘second supplier’ was that BT?

  4. The breech of the pricinciple of primacy for private capital so state aid can be spent where needed is tough. It is easy to fix but will no doubt be complicated by the BT confidentiality agreements which will the change control costs while the setting of the intervention is acoording the state aid notification SS33671 is just moment time at the time of the OMR.

    The non-publication of the 7 digit code will increase the probability of to Virgin being overbuilt and that creates a real problem for everyone.

    It can be avoided through more transparency.

  5. Avatar Chris Conder

    The minute a community publicise the fact they are looking at alnets then it scares the councils, they are frightened their chosen solution is going to be proved to be inadequate. Rather than supporting alternatives they choose to stop them.

    Its a shame about this, because the gigaclear solution would have been a futureproof one and would have been available to far more homes and businesses in the area, unlike FTTC.

    Never mind, Gigaclear can work in another area with more sense. And come back to this one and do the job properly once everyone sees that FTTC hasn’t a long life span and hasn’t helped those on long lines.

  6. Network converge should be 100% so that people can benefit from it. there are many places where there is 0% coverage. Please do something there.

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