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Delay to New Gigaclear FTTP Plan for Gloucestershire and Herefordshire

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 (4:23 pm) - Score 2,356
gigaclear fttp frosty street cabinet

The Fastershire scheme in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire (England) has confirmed that they’ve sent Gigaclear’s revised Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband roll-out plan back to the drawing board. The move follows last year’s news (here), which revealed that the UK ISP’s contract had suffered “unexpected delays.”

Toward the end of 2018 Gigaclear found itself in the news for all the wrong reasons after a number of their Broadband Delivery UK linked contracts in Berkshire, Northamptonshire, Fastershire (Gloucestershire and Herefordshire), Devon and Somerset suffered significant delays (here, here, here and here). As a result some areas were told that they might have to wait an extra 2 years on top of what was previously planned.

Several of the affected projects highlighted problems with poor operational capacity and decision-making within Gigaclear, as well as a lack of contractor capacity, delays to wayleaves, slower than expected civil engineering and a lack of detailed planning (issues vary between contracts). Much of this is said to have stemmed from the provider’s old management, which was replaced following Infracapital‘s £270m buyout (here).

Unlike other affected contracts (see above) the Fastershire project has been much more ambiguous about the scale of delays in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Back in October 2018 they merely said that “unexpected delays” meant a “number of the start dates anticipated for certain communities have been missed.” Gigaclear was thus ordered to produce a new deployment plan.

Since then the only sound has been one of silence, until today. According to the latest update, Fastershire received Gigaclear’s revised plan in November 2018 but apparently this wasn’t good enough.

Fastershire Statement

A revised deployment plan was received in November 2018 but the plan needs to be refined further including the implications associated with bringing a number of properties that are currently not in any plan, into the contract before the full schedule is published.

Gigaclear have indicated that this process should be complete by the end of January and once received, the deployment plan will need to go through Fastershire’s governance process. However, this process is not delaying the rollout which continues at pace, and work has started (or is complete) in 49 cabinet areas.

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) project reported an almost identical outcome in November last year and we’re still awaiting an update on that, although we’d assume they’re working to a similar sort of time-scale as the Fastershire project. In other words we should have a better idea of what’s happening with the new plan before this Spring.

Crucially Gigaclear are continuing to roll-out the new “full fibre” network while all of this is occurring (details), which should help to manage the delays. The situation in Fastershire is also not believed to be as serious as it has been elsewhere, although we won’t know for sure until the final plan is approved and published.

Hopefully 2019 proves to be a better year for the ISP than 2018. What’s less clear is why it took Fastershire several months to inform the public that they’d rejected Gigaclear’s first plan revision in November 2018.

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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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2 Responses
  1. Avatar AnotherTim

    I think the picture for Fastershire is a little complex. Some areas, mainly those in and adjacent to the Cotswolds (inc Gloucester and Cheltenham) either have been built, or are in progress. That roughly relates to lots 3A and 3E.
    The north of 3C in Herefordshire has a little activity planned, but in the Gloucestershire part of 3C there has been no activity at all, and none on the list of planned builds, and similarly nothing for Lot 2. So basically the Forest of Dean, which has over 13% of properties with below USO connections has no prospect of any improvements from Gigaclear for a couple of years at best. If anyone does know of any builds happening, please let me know – the nearest to me that I know of is Highnam which is 22 miles awayt
    The previous plan had 50-60 separate builds in Lot 3c, quite a few of which had been due to be completed in 2018. None have started. Apparently we won’t know until 6-8 weeks before a build starts, so businesses and residents can’t even plan sensibly.

  2. Avatar Harry Barker

    NW Essex – so far two years late, another 5 months at least. Two power cables cut through, one BT broadband and phone line to numerous properties cut, roads and verges left in atrocious conditions, working without Highways permits, threatened with court action by resident, totally failed on several occasions to give any advance warning of road closures, access blocked for refuse and postal services, repeated excuses, same issues repeated again and again, customer services giving out wrong information – dates etc, site left with no access to driveways – resident forced to fill in trench in order to drive vehicles onto their own driveway before contractor returned to rectify, POTs broken after two days of placement, traffic diverted across private driveways resulting in damage, I could continue.
    Good luck!

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