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Gigaclear Run Fibre Optic Cable Under the Clifton Suspension Bridge

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 (10:39 am) - Score 2,470
gigaclear clifton suspension bridge

Rural ISP Gigaclear has achieved an important milestone in their contract to deploy a 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTP/H) broadband network to 53,000 premises in Devon and Somerset. The operator has managed to run their cable underneath the iconic 19th century Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The bridge, which spans the Avon Gorge (River Avon), was first opened in 1864 and is used to link (toll road) Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset. Suffice to say that the bridge posed some unique challenges for Gigaclear but it also offered a more direct route for their fibre optic cable.

The city of Bristol is already quite well served and so the main goal of this project was to expand outwards from there in order to hook-up some of the more isolated rural Somerset communities, many of which are still stuck on BT’s older and slower copper lines. As a result Gigaclear claims to have become the “first utilities provider since 1935” to use the bridge by delivering a modern Gigabit capable broadband network.

Matthew Hare, CEO of Gigaclear, said:

“Over 150 years ago, Clifton Suspension Bridge was a pioneering development, linking communities together using what was revolutionary technology for the time. Today, Gigaclear is using the best technology the 21st century can offer to move forgotten communities into the modern age. Our focus is to ensure that rural communities have access to the latest and very best quality broadband technology. This investment into the broadband infrastructure in Bristol and Somerset will ultimately help to drive the area’s digital economy, providing future-proof connectivity.”

Apparently locals in Abbots Leigh will be amongst the first to experience the ultrafast service when it goes live around September 2018. Gigaclear has also won various other Government-backed Broadband Delivery UK contracts for Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, West Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Essex and Northamptonshire.

The operator’s UK network currently passes 65,000 premises (could reach 150,000 by the end of 2020) and is home to over 15,000 customers. Recently the ISP has also become the subject of a £270m acquisition by M&G Investment Management (here).

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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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13 Responses
  1. Avatar Joe

    Hope its well hidden its a stunning bridge

    • Avatar Bob H

      Orange cable and zip ties?

    • Avatar Simon

      well if it’s underneath won’t be many people going to have a look lol

    • Avatar Jarrod

      “well if it’s underneath won’t be many people going to have a look lol”

      Unless anyone is going to stand in the middle of a river to see the middle of the bridge underneath, clearly see neigh on 100 Metres straight up, spot the difference between a fibre cable and other cabling (such as what is used now and previously to illuminate the bridge), can see what is located in shadow cast areas from the girders, chain rollers and roadway (areas under it will look pitch black from below), to spot a few centimetres at most wide cable bolted onto a near 3ft wide criss-cross girder, then erm yep he may see it… Or imagine he can.

      And all that before he can worry about the phantom crocodile which is spose to roam the river, still for a change at least the poor thing that must be starving will get a decent sized snack 😉

    • Avatar TheFacts

      OR copper and maybe fibre exists.

    • Avatar Jarrod

      Your point is what?

  2. Avatar TheFacts

    FTTC cabinet on the Somerset side of the bridge connected to Bristol West exchange?

    • Avatar GNewton

      @TheFacts: So what is your point? What is special about FTTC?

    • Avatar TheFacts

      There may be OR fibre across the bridge.

    • Avatar GNewton

      Gigaclear doesn’t use Openreach fibre.

      Of course one could argue that it is wasteful to have multiple fibre access networks for the same premises, but the whole framework for building fibre networks is wrong anyway, this goes back to the Thatcher era.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      @GN – I know, although they may use OR for backhaul. Just saying that GC may not be the first as there is OR copper.

  3. Avatar AnotherTim

    I don’t suppose there’s any chance of them running a cable across the Severn Bridge too? The “forgotten communities” in the part of Gloucestershire on the west of the Severn could do with being remembered too.

  4. Avatar Yazzie Abby

    While Gigaclear may have the speed, it doesn’t yet have the scope –
    concentrating on overhauling provincial regions as opposed to bigger
    swathes of the UK. In any case, there are bunches of other broadband
    suppliers to pick from and with factors like value, speed, and
    association with mull over, write my essays it can have a portion of the work improved the situation you. https://www.essayjaguar.com/

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