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Cityfibre and Gigaclear Sign Deal to Boost Ultrafast Rural Broadband

Friday, July 1st, 2016 (9:35 am) - Score 1,089
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Urban fibre optic (FTTP/H) network builder Cityfibre has today announced a strategic partnership with rural ISP Gigaclear. The deal is designed to “dramatically accelerate” the roll-out of next generation “ultrafast” Internet access to hundreds of thousands of rural homes and businesses across the UK.

Most of our readers are probably aware that both Cityfibre and Gigaclear build pure Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP/H) broadband networks, although the former tends to focus on the more lucrative business and public sector market in urban areas. Meanwhile Gigaclear prefers to deploy their network out to digitally isolated homes and businesses in rural areas, which is much more challenging.

Over the years both operators have received a huge amount of investment through loans, private equity and other sources of funding. The city fund manager Neil Woodford has similarly injected a tens of millions of pounds into both, thus it was perhaps only a matter of time before the two became cosy.

Under the deal Cityfibre’s increasingly large national network, which is now available in over 37 towns and cities (including over 1,100km of long distance network), will be used to support Gigaclear’s rural Gigabit FTTP/H platform. In other words, Gigaclear will be able to make use of Cityfibre’s network for backhaul, with their metro networks and POP facilities also helping to facilitate connectivity to nearby rural areas.

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

“We are delighted to formalise a partnership with Gigaclear which shares such a complementary agenda. We have long been aware of the huge levels of demand for better internet connectivity in rural areas surrounding our urban network projects.

It is a national embarrassment that residents and businesses in rural areas, and indeed many of those in towns and cities, have been left in the digital dark ages. Pure fibre infrastructure is the 21st century utility and is an essential component to everyday life.”

Matthew Hare, CEO of Gigaclear, said:

“Bringing brilliant broadband to rural Britain has its challenges. This partnership with CityFibre gives Gigaclear access to more capacity, faster delivery and more flexible bandwidth across the country. It helps us build Gigabit networks where other operators do not reach, to meet the demand for better broadband from homes and businesses.”

The development should help Gigaclear to achieve their short-term goal to covering 100,000 homes and businesses in rural parts of the United Kingdom (mostly England) by the end of 2017 (here), which will represent a massive boost from the 40,000 or so premises that they hope to have covered by the end of 2016 (at the moment they have enough money to reach about 48k+).

Gigaclear also plan to float at some point and indeed to reach the next 50,000 premises they’ll need to find at least double what they’ve already got (investment).

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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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