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Gigaclear Told to Revise Fastershire FTTP Broadband Rollout Plan UPDATE

Thursday, October 18th, 2018 (4:02 pm) - Score 3,105
gigaclear fastershire fttp build

The Fastershire scheme in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire (England), which is supported by both county councils and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, has ordered UK rural ISP Gigaclear to produce a new plan after their roll-out of Gigabit capable FTTPfull fibre” technology suffered delays.

Last year the ISP handed a £90m civil engineering contract for deploying their service into rural parts of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire to a company called Complete Utilities (here), which was expected to help extend their ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based network to reach “almost70,000 premises in the two counties.

The provider already had a network established in Gloucestershire, but they needed to start from scratch in Herefordshire and this meant getting the crucial backhaul links finished before work in the county could begin. Nevertheless the deployment is now said by Fastershire to be “well under way,” with 9 community networks under construction and over 1,000 individual “connection pots” installed.

Meanwhile, in Gloucestershire, some 25 community networks are under construction with 5 already completed. However a new statement posted by Fastershire this week warns that Gigaclear’s plans are still “susceptible to delays as wayleaves are sought, negotiated and occasionally withheld and as detailed designs get refined to account for conditions on the ground.”

In other words, building in some areas has gone more quickly than expected but others have suffered “unexpected delays.”

Fastershire Statement

Fastershire is aware that a number of the start dates anticipated for certain communities have been missed and we understand the frustrations this has caused not least in terms of the accuracy and timeliness of information on the Fastershire website.

The project is working on improvements to the build reporting process and the Fastershire website that will enable the project to more accurately reflect the deployment dates and provide more progress updates at the local level.

In light of this, Fastershire has requested that Gigaclear produce a new deployment plan. The project expects to receive the new deployment plan in November and it will likely see some rescheduling. For some communities anticipated build start date may be sooner than previously stated but for other communities it may be later.

Fastershire will publish this information as soon as it is possible in line with the revised plan.

The development comes only a week after Gigaclear was forced to make a public apology for a separate roll-out contract in Devon and Somerset, which is said to have suffered “significant” delays (here), but that appears to have been much more serious than the problems facing them in the Fastershire scheme.

UPDATE 20th October 2018

Gigaclear has given us a comment on the above development.

Mike Surrey, CEO Gigaclear, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“Gigaclear has worked collaboratively with Fastershire since 2015 on the programme to bring full fibre, high speed broadband to rural Herefordshire and Gloucestershire and significant progress has been made to date. The stage 3 build is well underway in Gloucestershire with network serving five communities live and a further 25 in construction, additionally in Herefordshire another 9 community areas are in build.

However, as wayleaves are sought, negotiated and occasionally withheld, and detailed designs are refined to account for conditions on the ground, we acknowledge that some communities have experienced a delay. We would like to reassure you that we are committed to delivering fast broadband services.

We would like to extend our apologies for this, we know how vital access to reliable broadband is and we are sorry for the frustration this has caused. We are now working hard on the delivery of the revised deployment plan which will be released in November, when it is fully agreed with Fastershire. To ensure the rollout programme is accelerated and delivered against the new schedule, we are increasing resources across the region.

We want to take this opportunity to reassure residents that we are committed to successfully delivering ultrafast broadband services to the region and improving our communications to the community.”

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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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16 Responses
  1. Avatar TomD

    Connection pot is the individual connection at each property

    • Avatar wireless pacman

      Yup. It is located at the edge of the property boundary. The final drop fibre to the house then plugs into a connector within the pot, which has already been pre-fibred back to the Gigaclear cabinet.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Don’t forget that the connection between the “pot” and the property is down to the occupant and not Gigaclear – its version of FTTP is fibre to the pavement and not fibre to the premises.

    • Avatar Cotswoldian

      Can’t help but notice these comments are slightly inaccurate, I believe the plugging in of a cable within the pot is the method used in the older networks Gigaclear built where they direct buried cable. Now they are using cable ducting, I assume in Gloucs as they are everywhere else, they will install a duct across the garden to the house and use a coupler to join to the duct entering the pot. They will then blow the drop fibre from the nearest cabinet through the pot to the house and plug into the router.

      Also, to my knowledge it was many years ago Gigaclear were telling customers to take care of their own connection to the house. They have been using installation contractors, Comex2000 were installing around my area, to get to each house when you sign up and Gigaclear handle the whole process from order through to the installers coming to your house to connect up. So I think calling it FTT-Pavement is unjust as it’s no different from what Virgin Media or any other FTTP provider would do?

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      Gigaclear now state free installation. Whether there is a connection at the POT will depend on local factors and the actual premises install date. Gigaclear will soft trench in preference but will reinstate with cold tarmac or reinstate short distances of paving/block. Anything significant is a non-standard installation for which charges apply. But it is FTTP with no DIY kits other than extended internal cable options to the DRG700 or equivalent.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      From the Gigaclear website today:

      For those installations that are considered non-standard we may not be able to offer you free installation. We will carry out a no obligation site survey and provide you with a cost for installation. Your installation may be considered non-standard if any of the following apply;

      Your Gigaclear pot is over 100m away from where you’d like us to place your router;
      We’d need hot lay tarmac to reinstate the ground or more than 10m concrete/tarmac will need reinstating;
      You have over 5m of block paving or flag stone that we’d need to lift and/or put back or
      You have some other unusual surface that would need specialist skills to lift and/or reinstate

  2. Avatar wireless pacman

    Am sure you mean “… two counties”, not “… two countries”. 🙂

  3. Avatar Matthew Williams

    This definitely sounds more like what happened with the original BDUK contracts than the Devon/Somerset Situation.

  4. Avatar John

    The fastershire Gigaclear project has been a fiasco in my area, firstly it was supposed to start last year then this was pushed back to April this year then to August then to 23rd September and now December (no actual date but sometime, possibly,maybe) at the same time the end date has slipped to Q4 2019. The scheme in my area has been shocking after Fastershire failed to get BT to install the slower solution to a cab which is 10m away from the main fibre link down the A40 and took it 2km further down the road (3 years ago!). I am glad that Fshire has somewhat gotten a grip on the poor, very poor, information being provided by both them and Gigaclear. It is a shame as there is an offer for really low cost connection (expires Feb next year) which we will also lose out on as yet again there is a massive failure in this setup. Whilst BT was a slower option at least we would have a reliable faster connection as we currently have around 3meg. Come in Fastershire it really needs to be sorted.

  5. Avatar AnotherTim

    Still no updated plan for the Fastershire area. I spoke to Gigaclear today, and they told me that the build in my area wouldn’t start until at least Q4 2019 – so at best it is 2 years away. That means that from being told that my area’s upgrade was imminent 5 years ago (before we committed to buying our house) to actually getting a faster connection will be at least 7 years.

  6. Avatar Ratchet

    Have just seen Gigaclear contractors terminate their cable laying activities 200m from my front door. The terminations sits neatly adjacent to the “Welcome to Worcestershire” sign. Seems that Gloucestershire County Council is perfectly happy for them to lay cable but Worcestershire County Council has some as yet undisclosed objection. Perhaps the sign should say “Welcome to Worcestershire, last refuge of the copper only 2Mbps internet connection”

    • Avatar Brendan Treacy

      I think Worcestershire County Council had problems with Virgin Media contractors, so would be reluctant to some high profile schemes. Will be sorted in near future.

    • Avatar Steven

      2Mb/Sec that would be like paradise compared to Blaisdon, Gloucestershire try fluctuating between 32KB and 90KB/Sec absolutely disgusting service by the broadband providers in this region taking money for nothing

  7. Avatar David Palmer

    Has there been any update on when they are going to issue the rollout programme since they have (yet again) missed their deadline? I have found that Fastershire are awful; firstly the BT rollout was supposed to include our property, however after two years of promises they decided not to connect us in spite of the fibre being laid passed out gate! How can they get awards when they deliver such shoddy programme management?

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