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Gigaclear Shows Altnets Can Bring Fibre Optic Broadband to UK Schools

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 (10:54 am) - Score 834

Alternative network provider Gigaclear has today demonstrated how they too can take on the big operators by using their new 1000Mbps (Megabits per second) capable fibre optic broadband (FTTP) network in the rural market town of Uppingham (Rutland, England) to connect a big local School.

Up until 2012 Uppingham was being served by a Sub-Loop Unbundled (SLU) broadband service and a free wireless internet (Wi-Fi) hotspot that covered the town centre, which was originally installed by Rutland Telecom (Gigaclear’s sibling). But this was upgraded in 2013 after Gigaclear completed the roll-out of their ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network.

The ISP has now delivered this service to around 800 pupils that attend the local Uppingham School, which resulted in a huge demand for bandwidth (apparently video-learning and other related Internet learning resources have become the norm in classrooms). In fact just recently the school managed to gobble a full Terabyte of data in just one day.

Furthermore it’s understood that the partnership between Gigaclear and Uppingham School also played a part in helping to bring their fibre optic connectivity to the surrounding community, not least through the school providing the ISP with access to their existing ducts and facilities.

Adam Niblett, Director of Information Systems at Uppingham School said:

With the growing prevalence of internet and video-based learning resources in classrooms, we needed a cost effective solution to dramatically increase bandwidth. I liked the personal service from Gigaclear, dealing with the people directly in charge of the project. We’re happy to have worked with Gigaclear to help provide connectivity to the broader Uppingham community.”

Matthew Hare, CEO of Gigaclear, added:

We’ve truly seen the digital revolution change the way classrooms operate and how children interact with online learning. More and more schools are seeing the benefits of these rich, interactive forms of Internet and media based learning, and are seeing ultrafast broadband services like Gigaclear’s as a way to cost effectively deliver these benefits. We’re proud to work and partner with schools like Uppingham, helping them to educate Generation Z and working together to connect more people in their community to ultrafast commerce, entertainment and communication.”

Gigaclear, which typically focuses on connecting rural communities that have often been left neglected by BT, recently raised another £6.5m of investment (here) and eventually hopes to push their FTTP service out to reach a total of 200,000 premises. But the immediate aspiration is to hit 50,000 premises by the end of 2015.

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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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15 Responses
  1. Avatar Jonus says:

    Well done Gigaclear, great to see another ALTNET making good progress.Be interesting to see if the school is the anchor customer for the roll out to a further residential FTTH play in the area.

    ITS and Fibre Options appear to have adopted the above model to great success up and down the country over the past few years. Again two good examples of ALTNET successes which we need more of.

  2. Avatar DTMark says:

    Another BT leased line left to die underground?

    Too many of these and BT/BDUK will be in tatters.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      I think Gigaclear or any altnet have some way to go before anyone would be worried 🙂

    2. Avatar DTMark says:

      It’s not just this one, though, is it.

      Thinking of places like the rather large industrial park in Alton which has really poor connectivity.

      It isn’t commercially viable for BT, apparently. The reason being that while there is no competition those customers can continue to be fleeced with extortionate charges for leased lines/private circuits.

      There’s a real market for providing modern connectivity to businesses, neglected for so very long.

      Which then makes them commercially viable for BT who in sulky fashion then have to wander along and catch up or lose that highly valued business.

      This one’s a lovely example of tech being superseded – in this case, VDSL, with competition being the mechanism.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Good luck to them, it isn’t one no… how many is it tho…a few hundred a few thousand?

  3. Avatar Paul says:

    Well done to Gigaclear for a project supporting education and the future of our country 🙂

  4. Avatar FibreFred says:

    It’s saying something when the Schools of the UK have to rely on residential products for internet access. All Schools should have high speed access already included in their government budgets, what a shambles.

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Who says it is a residential product?

    2. Avatar Paul says:

      Luckily for them with Gigaclear they will no longer have to rely on ‘residential’ broadband as Gigaclear do business and uncontended packages 🙂

    3. Avatar TheFacts says:

      52 ISPs do a FTTC business product.

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      “Up until 2012 Uppingham was being served by a Sub-Loop Unbundled (SLU) broadband service and a free wireless internet (Wi-Fi) hotspot that covered the town centre,”

      I’m talking about that ^ I assume it was a residential service, even if it was a business product what are we talking 8-24Mbps at best, no good for a school

  5. Avatar TheManStan says:

    I can’t see why they government doesn’t fund the JANET network to connect up all schools or obtain connectivity from which ever provider… with no further requirement for budgetary allocation to local authorities or the schools themselves for internet access… it’s a very successful system and why not make use of it…

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      Believe this thought occurred to the government a couple of weeks ago, and years into the BDUK projects. There was an article on here regarding something along those lines.

    2. Avatar TheFacts says:

      This is not a local authority school, boarding £33k pa.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      If that is the case they can afford their own decent connection

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