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UPDATE2 Gigaclear and Call Flow Win Fibre Broadband Contract for Berkshire

Friday, Jul 3rd, 2015 (3:00 pm) - Score 1,856

Fibre optic ISP Gigaclear, fresh from picking up the state aid fuelled contracts for Epping Forest (Essex) and rural Gloucestershire, has today picked up another win by securing a deal to roll-out their 1000Mbps FTTP broadband network to parts of remote rural Berkshire in England. Call Flow Solutions will also deploy some slower FTTC.

At present the existing Superfast Berkshire project is currently working with BT to roll-out their “high-speed fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to “around” 91% of local premises by the end of September 2015, although this tends to deliver significantly slower speeds. So far 17,513 premises have benefitted from this project, with 85 street cabinets upgraded.

But earlier this year the local authority issued a new £4.7m tender, which is based on an OJEU procurement rather than the existing BDUK framework, in the hope of finding a supplier that could help to expand superfast broadband (24Mbps+) speeds into the regions remaining slow-spots.

News reaches us today that Gigaclear has won all or part of the related contract, which is also being supported by the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme.

Statement from INCA:

Whilst most of the government’s rural broadband funding has gone to BT, some local authorities like Berkshire are looking at what the alternative providers can offer. Those that do find that the independents are flexible, offer great value for money and are focused on delivering fantastic services for local communities.

Gigaclear is an excellent example and in villages benefiting from their all-fibre gigabit infrastructure people talk about the transformation in their lives from the ‘digital dark ages’ BG (Before Gigaclear) to the new world of gigabit broadband AG – After Gigaclear.”

The BDUK programme is known to have allocated £3.56m (preliminary) in additional funding to the contract and we are awaiting final details of the exact deployment plan and any targets. Expect an update to follow.

UPDATE 4:20pm

The details are in and apparently 11,700 homes and businesses across West Berkshire will benefit from the new deal, with more than £3.7m of public funding invested in this phase and it’s claimed that West Berkshire will thus exceed 99% superfast coverage by the end of 2017.

Gigaclear will invest more than £4 for every £1 of state aid, contributing nearly £16 million. Sadly that’s all the detail we’ve got for now.

Matthew Hare, CEO of Gigaclear, said:

We’re delighted to celebrate a hat-trick of successes in being selected to bring ultrafast broadband to the Cotswolds, Epping Forest in Essex and now West Berkshire. Giving these areas one of the best and most reliable broadband services in the world means businesses and residents of all ages will benefit.

We are excited that these investments will make a significant contribution to economic development as well as transforming the online education, communications, entertainment and business experience.”

UPDATE 6:13pm

Some additional details just in, we’ve been informed that Call Flow Solutions will also provide a Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) solution to 11 new street cabinets in Windsor & Maidenhead, expanding superfast broadband with speeds above 30Mbps to in excess of 1,750 additional premises (residential and business).

This contract is targeting upgrades principally on the Windsor and Wraysbury exchange but is also expecting to address areas around Burchett’s Green and Horton. The combination of funding from Broadband Delivery UK, The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership of £415,000 is being supported with a contribution of £120,000 from Call Flow Solutions. Planning will start in July and delivery is expected to be completed by mid 2016.

Additional bids under Phase 2 were also received for Reading and Wokingham from Call Flow Solutions but due to a technicality, it was not possible to get these contracts authorised under the EU State Aid requirement before the deadline of 30th June 2015.

Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, said:

These contracts with Gigaclear and Call Flow Solutions are a fantastic result for the extra 13,450 Berkshire homes and businesses that will now get superfast broadband as a result of our rollout. Our nationwide rollout is now reaching 40,000 more premises every week and by 2017, 95 per cent of the UK will have access to superfast speeds, providing a tremendous boost to local economies across the UK.”

Elsewhere Gigaclear expect to begin work on the construction of the new infrastructure in November 2015, with the first customers expected to gain access to new broadband services before the end of the year. The deployment is expected to be completed by the middle of 2017.

Superfast coverage is now set to rise from around 65% delivered under the commercial roll out of the private sector to in excess of 99% once Superfast Berkshire’s contracted delivery is completed.

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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