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Gigaclear Hand £90m FTTP Broadband Roll-out Contract to Complete Utilities

Monday, September 4th, 2017 (4:06 pm) - Score 2,077
gigaclear fastershire deployment rural road

Rural fibre optic ISP Gigaclear has today handed the £90 million civil engineering contract for deploying their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) ultrafast broadband network into Gloucestershire and Herefordshire (England), which should reach “almost” 70,000 premises, to Complete Utilities.

The ISP has worked with Complete Utilities on a number of major projects, including the earlier phase of their state aid supported deployment via the joint Fastershire scheme in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire that is supported by the local authority and Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme. Openreach’s (BT) FTTC/P “fibre” technologies dominated Phase 1 but Gigaclear has a major presence in Phase 2.

The new contract largely reflects the operator’s recent Phase 2 contract wins under the same scheme (deployment areas for Fastershire phase two), which should take around 3 years to complete (further details here and here). Fastershire remain vague about their coverage targets and only say that “everyone in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be able to access the broadband services they need by the end of 2018.”

Brett Shepherd, Gigaclear’s COO, said:

“Having successfully worked with Complete Utilities in Fastershire over the past two years, we’re really delighted to be strengthening and extending our partnership with them. The innovative construction methods they have proposed will put us at the forefront of the industry, enabling us to deliver our broadband network more efficiently and with minimal disruption to local communities.

We’re looking forward to working together to bring thousands of properties in rural Herefordshire and Gloucestershire into the 21st century!”

Steve Chaplin, MD of Complete Utilities, added:

“As a business based in rural Gloucestershire ourselves, we take great pride in playing such a key role in the delivery of a completely new broadband network in the area. We’re also really pleased to have an opportunity to demonstrate the positive impact that the latest methodologies will have on the future of network delivery in the UK.

Combined with our rapid reinstatement process, we’ll be able to work more quickly, reduce waste and cut costs, resulting in a win-win for local communities, local authorities and our commercial partners.”

Complete Utilities will use narrow trenching (smaller trench = faster and cheaper to deploy) to connect local homes and businesses in the two counties to Gigaclear’s fibre optic cable via 173 related cabinets, which should enable them to receive Gigabit class broadband speeds.

The technique itself is also used by a number of other contractors, such as the John Henry Group, and has been around for a fair few years now. In the case of Virgin Media and JHG’s joint effort, the roll-out reduced their normal trench size from around 40cm to just 10cm.

Gigaclear states that this “not only increases the build speed and minimises disruption to the local community during construction, it also facilitates future expansion of the network by allowing new fibre to be added without the need to dig and lay new cables” (the latter point is not strictly unique to narrow trenching).

We thought it might be useful to show a narrow trenching machine in action, so here’s a video that we plucked from the internet of another contractor doing it (sorry we couldn’t find one of Complete Utilities).

UPDATE 22nd Sept 2017

Gigaclear has now provided a video of its own.

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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.
Leave a Comment
8 Responses
  1. Avatar chris conder

    Websters are good, we have used them. You could have used our video Mark!

  2. Avatar Gadget

    That would be £1285/premises……just for civils! Looks like everybody finds the final 5% has costs.

  3. Please follow the link below to see a full example of the narrow trenching concept. For further details please give 2 Rent a call on 0845 2222122. We are the Authorised dealer for Tesmec and Marais in the UK and Ireland.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ17jnpR4TQ

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