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Rural Broadband ISP Gigaclear Gets 25m Euro Loan to Expand Network

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 (4:56 pm) - Score 1,177
gigaclear uk

Ultrafast fibre optic ISP Gigaclear, which is rolling out a 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network to rural communities across the United Kingdom, has bagged some additional investment in the form of a €25m loan.

So far Gigaclear’s network has already become available to roughly 15,000 homes and businesses in rural parts of Oxfordshire, Essex, Kent, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Rutland and Gloucestershire in England.

On top of that the ISP, which currently owns and operates 56 rural fibre networks (plus 35 under construction), has also signed a number of Government (state aid) supported Broadband Delivery UK contracts (e.g. Gloucestershire – here, Essex – here and Berkshire – here etc.) and they hope to reach approximately 40,000 premises by the end of 2016.

However beyond that they also have commercial plans to reach another 30-40K premises (around 80,000 total), which is likely to require further investment. Gigaclear has already managed to attract £48.6 million in investment and now they’re about to get another €25m (£18m) via a loan.

The FT states that most of this loan will be coming from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and indeed it’s said to be the EIB’s “first targeted support for rural communications in the UK“, as well as also being the maximum available under their InnovFin (EU finance for innovators) mid-cap growth finance scheme.

Matthew Hare, CEO of Gigaclear, said:

We’re transforming lives and businesses, giving people access to the fastest internet speeds to be found anywhere in the world and technologically future-proofing these rural communities for years.”

One problem with the big spender approach to infrastructure development is that it will still take a long time to recoup the investment, not that this appears to worry Gigaclear or any of the other fibre optic ISPs.

Investors often seem able to see the long-term potential of fibre optic connectivity, which has also attracted them to other operators like Cityfibre and Hyperoptic. Assuming Ofcom doesn’t negatively upset that market too much with their Strategic Review then there’s no reason why this shouldn’t continue.

At this point it’s worth reminding our readers of Gigaclear’s “medium-term” target from their 2014 AIM float: “The Company’s target, assuming capital of £180 million (including the proceeds of the Placing) is deployed over the medium-term, is to make ultrafast fibre broadband available to 200,000 rural properties.”

Elsewhere the ISP is currently gearing up to trial a new 5Gbps (5000Mbps) broadband service (here), not that any home users have a need for such performance, but the bragging rights are probably worth the effort.

Leave a Comment
15 Responses
  1. Avatar Patrick Cosgrove

    Well done, Gigaclear!!

  2. Avatar Stephen

    Dear Gigaclear, please please please come to Aberdeenshire!!! It’s a wealthy area that’s screaming out for fibre broadband, I bet they’d get a lot of business.

    • Avatar rogTM

      lol don’t count on it pal.

      I gave them 465 houses on a plate in an area where the average house price is 300K and they turned their nose up at me. The areas is 1/4 M from the national fibre ring also!

    • Avatar Stephen

      Ah, that’s not so good. But to be expected I guess. No one wants to touch rural users with a barge pole it seems. Well not in Scotland anyway, nothing seems to make it past the test phase.

  3. Avatar PeterM

    The potential for Gigaclear is clearly enormous and they seem well able to provide a high level of service. But they are making a very small dent in demand across the country as a whole.

    The question is if Gigaclear can do it why are we not many more other companies in the same market?

    • Avatar wirelesspacman

      Another question for me is at what stage will people who can “only” get Gigaclear start to moan that they are not able to access the uber-cheap ISPs such as TalkTalk, Plusnet etc and are stuck with Gigaclear’s “expensive” tariffs? My suspicion is that it will be quite a long while, but that it will happen eventually.

    • Avatar Phil Coates

      Not if you are paying £75 per month for Satellite Broadband already.

    • Avatar gerarda

      @wirelesspacman Unless you are prepared to move ISP at the end of your introductory discount period the prices are not dis-similar by the time you add in line rental etc. eg Plusnet’s up to 76Mbps service is £19.99 plus £16.99 line rental so only £1.92 cheaper than Gigaclear symmetrical 50Mbps service.

    • Avatar wirelesspacman

      Hi gerada,

      Fair comment. 🙂

      Though I suppose the non-Gigaclear route does allow for lower priced options (ie not 76 Mbps etc), which I think was what was going through my mind.

  4. Avatar PMCC

    Come to Wemyss bay in Scotland lots of users waiting.

  5. Avatar fastman

    Wemsyss bay I think has fibre coverage already either commercially or by digital Scotland

  6. Avatar fastman

    Wemmyss Bay exchange is circa 3000 premises — so would be BDUK exchange built as part of digital Scotland — so assuming PMCC not covered he should be contacting Digital Scotland to see if and when he is covered, or he is already covered and is with a service provider that does not offer FTTC or wont offer it to him

    Sam knows says exchange enabled and some FTTC and FTTP in the exchange

    PMCC which one is correct

    • Avatar MikeW

      Wemys Bay seems to have FTTC live from 8 cabinets, with another 5 still being worked on – at least one of which looks to be for EO lines. Plus one cab being surveyed for FTTP. 2 cabinets not included.

      All work done has been part of BDUK.

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