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Gigaclear Sign £3.1m Deal to Extend FTTP Broadband in Essex UK

Monday, July 30th, 2018 (11:01 am) - Score 2,377
gigaclear street cabinet ftth

The Essex County Council (ECC) has awarded a second £3.1 million contract in their Phase 4a Superfast Essex programme to Gigaclear, which will see the ISP extend their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband network to cover an extra 2,100 rural homes and businesses in the Epping Forest District.

Currently around 93% of premises in Essex can already access a “superfast fibre broadband” (30Mbps+) network – mostly via FTTC (VDSL2) and a bit of FTTP – which includes 106,000 premises that have benefited as a direct result of the state aid supported Superfast Essex project (expected to reach 149,400 by March 2020 – excluding Phase 4’s latest planned additions (overall total of 154,600 inc. Phase 4a)).

Overall it’s predicted that local coverage of superfast broadband will reach around 97% by December 2019 and ECC has made no secret of their desire to get as close to 100% as possible by 2021, which is where the new Phase 4 contracts come in.

The first contract under Phase 4a has already been assigned to Openreach (BT), which will roll-out their “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to cover an additional 1,500 premises in the borough of Basildon and 1,600 in the district of Braintree (details here).

Meanwhile Gigaclear claims to have recently completed the earlier Phase 2b (funded by £5.5m from Gigaclear and £2m of public money) “Rural Challenge Project“, which supported a roll-out of their 1Gbps capable “full fibre” network to cover 4,545 premises in the Epping Forest area of Essex. As a result the new Phase 4a (stream two) contract represents an extension of that deployment and is due to completed by December 2019.

Lesley Wagland, ECC Chairman of the Superfast Essex Steering Board, said:

“We introduced the pilot Rural Challenge Project to find new ways of reaching rural communities with faster connectivity, and Gigaclear’s ultrafast full fibre network has done just that. We are really pleased to have a new commitment from Gigaclear to expand their network further as well as the continued support from Epping Forest District Council to help make this happen.”

Mike Surrey, CEO of Gigaclear, said:

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Superfast Essex team and with Essex Highways to deliver full fibre, ultrafast broadband to more than 30,000 properties including our commercial rollouts in the area. On completion of the current projects Gigaclear will have invested over £35M in Essex, and we will continue to innovate with our delivery methods to minimise disruption and to increase build efficiency.”

As usual the latest roll-out plans for both Phase 4a work streams are already available to view at address-level on the Superfast Essex interactive rollout map. All properties due for an upgrade under the existing programme or as part of this additional coverage will have a green dot.

The additional work is being made possible thanks to an investment of £350,000 by Epping Forest District Council, which has been match-funded by a grant from the UK Government, together with existing project savings and a significant contribution from Gigaclear of over £2 million.

More public funding is potentially available in Essex, which suggests that we’ll see further contracts and network extensions being agreed in the near future.

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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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10 Responses
  1. Avatar Matthew

    Good going Essex and Gigaclear

  2. Avatar AnotherTim

    Is it because there is a commercial part of this that makes it possible for Gigaclear to start and complete rollout in less time than it takes to start a build in other areas? For example, they were awarded Fastershire lot 3c in Dec 2016, and the build hasn’t even started yet.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @AnotherTim

      It probably depends on the state of backhaul and bayleaves how quickly they can get going.

      Anyway more good news that more 1G capable stuff is on the way for some lucky people.

      This is very positive for SME’s in those communities.

    • Avatar Joe

      A commercial case tends to suggest that there may fib near or high density/low cost build conditions. Either way its low hanging fruit so tends to get done quicker ceteris paribus

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      Yes, I had a suspicion that if there was a commercial component there is likely to be a better return for Gigaclear. However, I find it disappointing that Fastershire don’t prioritize areas that aren’t commercially viable such that they are at least started before everywhere else is complete.
      However, I have now heard a rumour that BT are to migrate the remaining EO lines on my exchange to a cabinet over the next year, so I may well end up with FTTC some time before Gigaclear start their build – fingers crossed.

    • Avatar Clifford

      “For example, they were awarded Fastershire lot 3c in Dec 2016, and the build hasn’t even started yet.”

      Nope it was awarded 2017…
      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/02/gigaclear-scoop-gloucestershire-herefordshire-broadband-contracts.html
      Building has started Ledbury being one area.

      Pretty good going to be starting only just slightly more than a year after the awarding of a contract. Took BT 3+ years to do my BDUK area with FTTC.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      It was awarded in Dec 2016 (it is in GCC minutes)- the contract with both Gloucestershire and Herefordshire was signed in Feb 2017. The bid that won was a premises level bid, and that was submitted not later than Sept 2016, so they must have had some outline plans in order to make a bid.
      Anyway, it is good to hear that the build in Ledbury has started – there’s still nothing there on roadworks.org, although I see some works not too far away in Codington. Have you witnessed work in Ledbury, or are you relying on the Gigaclear rollout schedule – according to that several places have been due to start, and then get moved back 3 months.

    • Avatar un4h731x0rp3r0m

      “It was awarded in Dec 2016 (it is in GCC minutes)- the contract with both Gloucestershire and Herefordshire was signed in Feb 2017.”

      Er until its signed how would you expect them to start work?
      Also a contract is not awarded until its signed.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      I wouldn’t expect them to start work until the contract was signed, but I’d expect them to start a.s.a.p once it is signed.
      There is actually a difference between being awarded a contract and all parties signing it, but as in this case it is only 2 months apart, it probably doesn’t matter. In most areas a year after “signing” a contract, Gigaclear are well on the way to rolling out FTTP.

  3. Avatar Paul M

    We really need these people in villages highs Cambridge, where phone lines are long and few people can get speeds much better than adsl2 on their fttc circuit.

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