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Essex Council Warn of Challenges to Gigaclear’s Broadband Rollout

Friday, November 16th, 2018 (2:38 am) - Score 1,367
gigaclear fibre optic bridge

The Essex County Council has confirmed that it will meet next week in order to discuss some of the “challenging” work conditions that UK ISP Gigaclear are said to be facing in the county, where they hold several state aid supported contracts for the roll-out of a 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network.

Over the past month Gigaclear has been in the news for all the wrong reasons after a number of their Broadband Delivery UK linked contracts in Berkshire, Northamptonshire, Fastershire (Gloucestershire / Herefordshire), Devon and Somerset suffered significant delays (here, here, here and here). As a result some areas have been told that they may have to wait an extra 2 years on top of what was previously planned.

Most of the issues have been linked back to problems with a lack of contractor capacity (the Carillon collapse didn’t help), management, challenges during the build and problems with planning. The good news is that they’ve had a change of management and fresh investment. As a result the provider now appears to be getting their house in order, but political anger and disagreement over the delays is an on-going issue in some counties.

Recently we’ve also received a few concerns from people in Essex, although so far the Superfast Essex team haven’t said anything in public. Gigaclear has successfully completed a Phase 2B contract (4,000 premises in Epping Forest) in the county, but they do have on-going Phase 3 work (8,300 premises in Uttlesford and Central North by Dec 2019) and recently won the contract for Phase 4a (2,100 premises in Epping Forest).

An Essex County Council Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“In Essex, Gigaclear’s work is proving challenging as the network build becomes more complex. We have a meeting planned to review the delivery schedule and any potential associated risks next week.”

The ISP has clarified to us that the meeting will discuss the scheduling of their on-going Phase 3 project. Unfortunately we won’t know more until after that meeting has taken place, but as this is a smaller roll-out then we’d hope it won’t be too badly affected.

The good news is that their Phase 4a contract was agreed fairly recently and so should have already taken into account the current climate. Separately we also queried whether Gigaclear’s roll-out in West Oxfordshire was facing similar problems, but happily the council said no: “All cabinet areas in our project with Gigaclear have started on time and the project is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2019.”

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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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1 Response
  1. TomD

    There’s also a large commercial network (c. 4000 properties) that their contractors are presently laying from Stansted to Chrishall. That’s absorbing a lot of their teams right up to April/May next year judging by roadworks.org

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