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Delays Bog Down Gigaclear FTTP Broadband Rollout in Crazies Hill

Monday, September 10th, 2018 (2:17 pm) - Score 1,581
gigaclear manhole

It’s two years since full fibre UK ISP Gigaclear announced that they could deploy their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network to the rural village of Crazies Hill in Berkshire (here), which beat Openreach (BT) and Virgin Media to the punch. Sadly the local residents are still waiting.

Initially Openreach and Virgin Media both expressed an interest in extending their respective networks / plans for nearby Wargrave to include Crazies Hill. The big stumbling block was that this would have required the small local community to raise approximately £100k to £200k of funding, which naturally proved to be unpopular.

Instead Gigaclear, which had also been deploying their optical fibre nearby, proposed to deliver the service provided 40% of locals committed to sign-up and pay their setup charge (currently £229.99 for both installation and activation). Suffice to say that the locals were much more amenable to this and the threshold was soon achieved.

Under the original plan it was suggested that Gigaclear could have started their deployment in October 2016 and completed it before the end of spring 2017. Instead some work to install fibre optic cables to the outskirts of Crazies Hill did begin, but a problem with the groundworks soon put that on hold.

Today the Henley Standard further claims that the operator has changed their contractors and project managers several times during the last two years, but there is some good news. The current expectation is that Gigaclear’s build will now recommence during October 2018 and the first customers should then go live next Spring 2019.

A Gigaclear Spokeswoman said:

“As with any large-scale engineering project, we expected to encounter challenges along the way. However, the project to connect Crazies Hill to ultrafast full fibre broadband has regretfully been delayed slightly longer than first anticipated.

We would like to reassure residents that we are addressing this and the work to survey the area is commencing over the coming weeks. Locals can expect to see Gigaclear’s LiDAR van in the area, which will be used to design the network and schedule the build, ensuring that the process is accelerated with minimal disruption to the community.”

In fairness, unexpected civil engineering obstacles often cause significant delays and no operator is immune to those challenges. We’ve seen various deployments from Openreach and others run into similar difficulties, which in a few cases may even turn once economically viable deployments into unviable ones.

By the sounds of it Gigaclear has found a way to make the Crazies Hill deployment work, which is good news, although operators could generally do a lot more to improve their communication with end-users. The deployment plans from almost all operators often fail to provide any useful information when delays occur.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. AnotherTim

    In situations like this are the residents that signed up two years ago expected to pay up, despite the 2 year delay? In that time some will likely to have moved/died/gone-off-the-idea. Or did they pay up 2 years ago?

  2. Matthew

    At least it’s back on it’s been delayed but sadly so much in life is these days.

  3. AnotherTim

    Actually I used to live not far from Crazies Hill. I am quite amused by the thought that the delay in rolling out broadband to Crazies Hill provokes the comment “As with any large-scale engineering project…”
    If Gigaclear think Crazies Hill is large scale engineering, how are they ever going to get to their target of 300,000 properties passed?

    • I believe they are talking about it within the context of their larger build across that part of Berkshire, which is a mix of both their own commercial and some state aid supported deployments.

  4. Bob2002

    So today I learned a place called “Crazies Hill” exists …

  5. Dan R.

    Any idea who the previous contractors or current contractor is for the work?

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