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Gigaclear Moot 1Gbps FTTP Broadband for 8 Rural Peterborough UK Villages

Friday, June 20th, 2014 (12:48 pm) - Score 1,038

Gigaclear has today announced tentative plans to make their 1000Mbps (Megabits per second) capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) based fibre optic broadband ISP network available to 1,500 homes and businesses across eight rural villages near Peterborough in England.

Under the current plan Gigaclear would seek to leverage backhaul capacity for the new service by linking into CityFibre’s £30m Peterborough CORE platform, which is currently being built and will soon stretch 90km of fibre optic cable around the city (here).

The ISP believes that it can harness this new network to feed ultrafast broadband speeds into the nearby villages of Ashton, Bainton, Barnack, Helpston, Marholme, Pilsgate, Tallington and Ufford. Apparently many of the residents of these communities have been “campaigning for better broadband for a considerable time“.

Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said:

People in rural areas have long-complained of slow broadband and so I am delighted Gigaclear is planning to bring incredibly high speeds to villages around Peterborough.

Having the fastest broadband speeds won’t just make it better for residents, it will also help businesses in rural areas and make it more attractive for some companies to move there.

This is another step in making Peterborough and the surrounding area amongst the best connected places in the world.”

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

As a company that believes in the transformational effects of Gigabit connectivity, CityFibre is delighted to provide Gigaclear backhaul connectivity via our Peterborough CORE fibre network. This project further demonstrates the value of metro fibre infrastructure, enabling satellite towns and villages to access next generation services from innovative providers like Gigaclear.”

Joe Frost, Gigaclear’s Marketing Director, said:

We are delighted to take this opportunity, working with Peterborough City Council and CityFibre who can provide us with the network backhaul capacity we need to build this network. We are looking forward to starting to work with these communities to understand the level of demand, and being able to help them thrive.”

A community meeting to discuss Gigaclear’s proposal is due to be held at The Millstone in Barnack on Monday 23rd June at 7pm. Gigaclear has made a number of similar deployments around England and further details about the project can be found on their Peterborough Vale page.

However it must be stressed that the project is only in the early planning stages and as usual the ISP will need 30% of the communities to sign-up (show enough demand) before they can seriously consider building the network.

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37 Responses
  1. Ignitionnet says:

    This sounds like an excellent result for the homes and businesses covered if the project completes.

    Here’s hoping for their sake it does. A future-proof technology like this would be a great result.

    1. DTMark says:

      Imagine a country where the government went all out to attract private investment from as many as possible reducing the cost to the taxpayer to nil or close to it.

      And if the new networks being built were licenced in such a way that those who got the high density areas also had to provision the neighbouring but outlying areas either directly, or by feeding backhaul to a local wireless provider, so as to guarantee the potential for ROI with the local authority doing all it can to facilitate, for example, duct laying.

      Really going at this with a sense of purpose “Japanese style” so it doesn’t take years and years, with a variety of bidders who might potentially bring a real choice of modern services to consumers and an environment which meant that the providers were naturally/commercially incentivised to upgrade as needed.

      Sadly, we can only imagine.

    2. Ignitionnet says:

      I’d rather imagine one where the government’s main objective with a broadband deployment is to plug BT’s pension deficit.

      In fact I’m not sure I have to imagine it.

    3. No Clue says:

      So another area to add to those that will suddenly become commercially viable for BT.

  2. X66yh says:

    Well yes @No Clue,
    If GC get the 30% and start to build the network – by definition it is indeed commercially viable.

    1. FibreFred says:

      The way Gigaclear engage and get their sign-up’s is a lot different to BT though. I believe BT estimate/project interest whereas Gigaclear go out and get firm commitment and won’t rollout if they don’t get it

    2. Ignitionnet says:

      Estimate/project/draw numbers out of a hat while blindfolded.

      3rd option seems most likely in my limited experience.

    3. DTMark says:

      Thinking about this, how would you estimate likely sign-ups for faster broadband?

      BT did run a campaign to gauge interest but then dumped on some of the successful communities when it found out they didn’t map exactly onto the topography of the old phone network.

      Early BT rollouts suggested affluence might be a factor – as in middle classes, but I don’t see why that would be the case.

      BT are up against Virgin Media and still don’t have a comparable offering.

      Trying to compete with Virgin head-to-head doesn’t seem to be working out as the number of cable subscribers continues to grow. I don’t see any indication that people with cable are “going back to BT” now it has suddenly decided to play a bit of catch-up, probably partly because it’s still so far short and partly because people have memories of what BT is like for customer service.

      Which then comes down to the lowest common denominator, price, which is where the market largely is.

    4. No Clue says:

      I wonder if BT estimated before spending their apparent £2.5 billion that out of the 18 Million or whatever it is they currently claim are passed by FTTC only a couple or so million BT customers have signed up for it.

      It seems Ignitionnets theory on how they estimate could be accurate as to what viable down is. Or maybe use of a crystal ball is another possibility.

    5. FibreFred says:

      DTmark I have certainly seen people leave cable to go to fttc, you won’t see a proper indication of it as no-one officially measures it

  3. Chris Conder says:

    Fantastic news, what a great partnership, I hope the people realise what an opportunity they have been given and make the most of it. Once there is a ‘digital parish pump’ ie an affordable source of backhaul it is affordable to build out into villages. The problem with the monopoly is that they can’t do it themselves and they won’t help anyone else to do it. We need many more initiatives like this, and this is where the BDUK funding should be going, not into obsolete cabs for the superfarce.

    1. FibreFred says:

      You seem to miss this each time I bring it up Chris, this is just a normal scenario for Gigaclear, it doesn’t need BDUK funding, Gigaclear go in, get firm sign up’s and deliver. No sign ups, no delivery.

    2. PhilT says:

      Looks like BDUK funding served no purpose then. Better not to spend public money.

    3. No Clue says:

      Oh i see Fred would sooner see monopoly organisations be given tax payer money with no evidence first anyone will want the service.

  4. X66yh says:

    …and GC are only interested in places that meet their criterion (ie will make a profit for them).
    So that is basically
    Easy access to non BT backhaul – obviously a major factor and without City Fibre in this case, this one would have been a non-starter.

    Compact upmarket Villages
    So that is easy/cheap to fibre up with few remote houses/awkward roads. Places with an ability and willingness to pay.

    Sufficient numbers
    To get the economies of scale/make it worthwhile they are looking at 400 to 500 residences as a minimum block.

    Compare that to a remote single Berkshire village in the middle of nowhere on 0.45Mbps and abandoned by BT/BDUK – you won’t see an altnet anywhere near the place. Those residents who are desperate are using satellite BB.

    @Fibre Fred
    I think GC did get some BDUK/RCBF/SEP funding in conjunction with the District council to do Northmoor in Oxfordshire.

    1. Ignitionnet says:

      On the flip side at least they are open to deploying FTTP where they could make a profit. BT totally abandoned the idea of deploying FTTP on brownfield anywhere a while ago now. Their rollout as announced was already hardly awe inspiring and was pared back further.

      Gigaclear will be waiting a while for that profit of course.

  5. PhilT says:

    At least one of those villages has an exchange, so the “slow” broadband is debatable – Barnack should be 6M throughout although TBB have a 14M speed test result in Barnack somehow.

    1. No Clue says:

      Bainton also has its own exchange serving only 835 premises. I can only assume BT poorly maintain it or the cables if with that small a number, the people that must practically be on its doorstep suffer poor speeds.

      Never mind im sure it will magically be viable once everyone there shows interest in Gigaclears product.

  6. fastman2 says:

    no clue

    FYI

    FTTC is available not just to BT and there are cira 80 Service providers offering FTTc – choice which is important to most end users

    Has any body checled to see if this any of these is in BDUK connecting camobriddeshire

    1. No Clue says:

      Not sure why you are telling me about how many people Openreach and BT wholesale flog their product to.

      Choice is indeed important these areas will be able to choose between BT based ADSL and Gigaclear FTTP wont they? SO you point is what again?

    2. DTMark says:

      If the user is more than maybe 600m give or take from the cabinet and/or the cabling is in lousy condition, then the choice of performant/useful broadband providers able to supply over that network is reduced to nil.

      Having a choice of who supplies rubbish isn’t much of a choice and having access to more than one set of infrastructure is ideal.

    3. No Clue says:

      That is a good point DTMark if the infrastructure is rubbish it makes no difference how many supply over it the end performance is rubbish.

    4. Ignitionnet says:

      If there were a genuine choice I would be delighted, and should these guys get their build they will have a genuine choice, which I envy them.

      Those circa 80 suppliers; 75+ of them are using the exact same resold service up to their own network, the differences are transit and peering, which shouldn’t be an issue, and the level of support. Beyond that it’s pretty much pricing and ‘value adds’. Regrettably I am not that fussed by pricing, within reason, and couldn’t care less about the value adds so I’m SOOL.

      If I choose to pay through the nose for a faster service I should really have that choice. I can’t. Unless I stump up 250GBP/month plus I get essentially the exact same service as someone paying Plusnet 20 quid a month.

      Bit of a loss as to where the ‘choice’ is in that. It’s like knowing you are going to be given a pair of tasteless socks but getting to choose the wrapping paper rather than the socks and having that being called ‘choice’.

      I would have had that option, unfortunately someone in their infinite wisdom decided that merely jacking up install prices to ensure they made the most of the Superconnected Cities voucher scheme wasn’t enough.

      Coincidentally of course there was no FTTPoD in this area until said voucher scheme arrived. Equally coincidentally there was no FTTC, and hence no FTTPoD, in the centre of the city until the voucher scheme arrived.

      Fingers crossed, however, that with the help of local businessmen as well the local council may have taken note that BT have deployed precisely zero FTTP in the UK’s 3rd largest city and indeed are only now building FTTC cabinets in some areas, which will have cost this area dearly, especially given our ‘local’ competition is the CityFibre enabled York where connectivity is cheaper and faster.

      This post brought to you by me having done a course in the city, with some telepresence elements, that ran into strife due to poor connectivity. A leased 10Mb here is similar in pricing to 1Gb in York. Guess where creative businesses go, despite the higher rents?

  7. X66yh says:

    I ‘think’ his point is that with Gigaclear you can ONLY use them as your ISP….you have no option to use other ISP’s as you can with the FTTC service.

    For example if you have all your email with your ISP’s email address, if you took up the GC FTTP solution you would loose your email address and would have to set up one of your own. While if you took up your ISP’s fibre package served via a BTOR FTTC cabinet you would not as it would just be a package/product change.
    This may put (non tech) people off as it just starts to be more aggro’.

    Remember we are not taking tech saavy people who can buy a domain name and set up an email account with it or use Gmail etc. We are talking the general public who associate email services as being integral with their ISP connectivity.

    Add in the fact that residents may not want their verges excavated/roads closed and their front gardens dug up for FTTP. Others may have spent hours on the phone to BT and have finally got the wretched BB to work properly and don’t want the change/hassle all over again.
    You can see why a FTTP solution while seemingly to us on here ideal, is actually far harder to sell as a product to have over BTOR’s FTTC than it might appear. (As to FTTP future proofing BB for the next 30 years – frankly your average consumer doesn’t give a rat’s arrse.)

    1. No Clue says:

      These areas do not have FTTC so he has no point.

      Not even sure what you point about email with FTTC is. A person moving from BT retail, the current leader of FTTC supply and certainly who the common non-tech person will buy from they do not supply email anyway, unless you count a free BT Yahoo address which you can access on any network.

    2. TheFacts says:

      BT has stopped using Yahoo!. That was just the platform, the address are …@btinternet.com

    3. Ignitionnet says:

      Your average consumer may rather rapidly start giving a rat’s arse if they are more than about 600m from their cabinet and are trying to order BT’s YouView multiroom package – minimum required FTTC IP Profile of 34Mb.

      Yes, BT’s Retail arm have already released a product that ~25% of their FTTC user base can’t order due to distance from cabinet. Gotta love that.

    4. DTMark says:

      A worthy successor to BT Vision, then..

      I spent some time on MSE once, and the howls from people who were fooled into thinking that BT Vision was an alternative to cable TV in terms of range or performance were quite loud, most especially from those who couldn’t even get it to work because the broadband wasn’t up to it.

    5. No Clue says:

      “BT has stopped using Yahoo!. That was just the platform, the address are …@btinternet.com”

      Which you keep no matter the ISP you are with as long as you access it once every 90 days.

  8. fastman2 says:

    No clue

    my point is are they due to get under BDUK – connecting Cambridgeshire or have they just assumed they are in no build

    1. No Clue says:

      Releasing details like that are commercially sensitive as you and the BT crones regularly tell us

  9. fastman2 says:

    DT Mark

    600 metres is around 40 meg or greater have seen 15 – 20 meg ar ound 800 -900 metres or greater in my day job so not quite sure why yout think 600 metres is only distance

    1. DTMark says:

      I’m talking distance from cabinet. Line length could be “anything” so it’s a “to be on the safe side”.

      We’re about 700m from the cabinet but there’s nearly 1300m of wire connecting us to it which as I understand it would struggle to deliver much more than about 4 Meg upstream over VDSL. If it’s aluminium, halve that.

      Thankfully, we have a choice of an alternative infrastructure – fibre over the air (4G) as opposed to fibre down a phone line (VDSL).

      Or we did until it broke. Nice one EE. Your HAM0101 transmitter has been borked for two weeks now. But, it’s nice to be able to change ISP in about 60 seconds at no cost, we’re not tied to a single set of infrastructure. Spending with EE drops from about £120 a month to £0 per month.

      The idea of living somewhere where there is only one infra provider is horrifying.

  10. Ignitionnet says:

    Okay ranting over, my councillors have picked up on concerns and they’re going forward 🙂

    Back to this topic in hand.

    This is GREAT for these guys, however as I keep banging on this is not a solution for everyone and urban areas are a no-go for Gigaclear.

    I did discuss this area with them in 2012; sadly we are too urban, they would have been required to go through a fair amount of concrete to do what needed to be done, they didn’t have the ducting in place and couldn’t use the ducting that’s already in the ground, excellent as that duct would be for FTTP.

    The urban options consist of a CityFibre A N Other hybrid, in apartments Hyperoptic, in other areas if you don’t have VM you’re stuck.

    1. DTMark says:

      Cue the usual cries from BT people of “but the taxpayer won’t give us what we want to run FTTP”.

      Each year we think about moving, but the thought of having to check each property on Google Earth to make sure it has the black strip running along the pavements and the CATV manhole covers (just in case it’s one of those “we can’t reach *your* house” later on) is tortuous.

      As was ever thus.

  11. X66yh says:

    Indeed – just like a gas supply
    Not found in rural areas.
    Nor found in many cases even in houses on the edges of villages which do have it.

    ’twas never economic to deliver it to these places even during the days of 100% public ownership of the gas network and when the public purse was more generous than it is now.

    1. Ignitionnet says:

      It’s the other way around now. Look at Cornwall and the area with FTTP there. Look at the rural areas served by Gigaclear et al.

      The primary deliverer of FTTP/B in urban areas isn’t BT, it’s Hyperoptic.

      BT have delivered more FTTP in rural semi-rural areas, where they have had subsidy, than they have in our cities, and I may be wrong but suspect that there are more homes passed by FTTP in what would be called rural and semi-rural areas than urban ones in the UK.

      It was that way, then came privatised infrastructure builders with extremely tight pockets and a lower cost, if lower functionality and lifetime, alternative.

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