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UK ISP Gigaclear Bring FTTH to 2450 Devon and Somerset Premises

Friday, October 4th, 2019 (3:14 pm) - Score 1,082
gigaclear rural path fibre optic broadband

Full fibre broadband ISP Gigaclear has today moved to remind everybody that the commercial rollout of their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network in Devon and Somerset is on-going. The provider has just added a further 239 properties in the villages of Lympsham, Eastertown, Edingworth and Rooks Bridge.

The recent fallout from the Connecting Devon and Somerset project’s move to scrap Gigaclear’s state aid supported contract (here) has perhaps overshadowed the fact that they still have a commercial FTTP roll-out in the two counties, which has so far covered a total of 2,450 homes and businesses.

As present the network mostly covers – in addition to the above locations – the Blackdown Hills villages of Millhayes, Upottery, Yarcombe, Rawridge, Churchinford, Ford Street, Blackmoor, Sampford Arundel, Sampford Moor and Wrangway, as well as the Somerset villages of Failand, Abbots Leigh and Banwell.

From their office in Taunton, Gigaclear said they’re “focussed on delivering service to rural areas where it will have the most impact on the local population.”

Jo Scarrott, Regional Manager for Gigaclear South West, said:

“I’m pleased that we have been able to get these properties online and ready for this essential service. We know that in today’s environment, a fast and reliable broadband connection can enable communities in many ways. The build phase on this project has been long and we appreciate it can be disruptive to the local community. However, the long term benefits we are delivering far outweigh the short-term disruption.

Our commercially funded building work in the area is continuing and I’m looking forward to expanding our network.”

Sadly today’s announcement didn’t include an update on the status of their wider commercial plan for both counties, which originally proposed a £67.3m investment to cover 43,000 premises. However that deployment was intended to complement the separate CDS contract and Gigaclear are now understood to be reviewing their plans.

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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 MrNew

    Gigaclear are an embarrassment.

  2. Avatar Somerset

    Not convinced it covers all of Banwell.

  3. Avatar A_Builder

    Well I think as @MJ has said previously this is the issue when you scale up a small and well intentioned business to try and take on the big boys.

    Sometimes business do not really scale and that is what I sense here.

    My understanding of the early business was that it depended on a group of people using common sense to solve problems. It did not seem to have a lot of systems and processes.

    For good groups of people who are happy keeping things small that can be a very good way of doing things.

    But trying to extrapolate from that a scalable BigCo never works. Common sense is, sadly, a rare resource.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Maybe the primary objective was to get to sufficient scale for a profitable exit for the founders rather than establishing a sustainable business. So perhaps winning lots of contracts was more important than a clear delivery plan.

      Is Gigaclear post-sale essentially a new company? Or does it need to be?

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @New_Londoner

      Maybe the exit did feature in gaining contracts.

      In my experience bad advice and hubris are usually key factors.

      Bad advice: where the advisors are bigging up the advises. Hubris: you start to believe that because you did it before you own the cookie cutter.

      Scaling civils is very very hard. I take my hat off to anyone who succeeds doing that efficiently.

    • Avatar Peter

      I was in one of the early commercially led roll out villages.
      The villagers and the local committee formed did a lot of the preparation work ourselves.
      We dealt with the “awkward squad” – luddites and nayayers, there was one on every road in the village
      We sorted out the location position for the cabinet having been given the desired criterion by GC.
      We sorted out wayleaves where they were necessary
      We told them who owned what in terms of land and who to contact – particularly when some of it was unregistered land.
      We looked over the detailed network planning drawings, fibre amalgamation points and particularly the location of the house connections to advise where the mistakes were before any digging got done: shared driveways often got muddled up.
      We sent out the regular emails to all during roll out detailing where they were going next so everyone knew exactly where the disruption would occur and when.
      It was a great deal of work and in reality could only have been done by a group of IT literate and early retired/time locals on their hands to do it.

      Oh yes and it works perfectly – a simply vast improvement over BT.

  4. Avatar Graham Long

    In her evidence to the DCC Scrutiny Committee on September 26, CDS Director Keri Denton stated that “a failure by Gigaclear to do due diligence on the state of Devon roads and their upseting several land agents had contributed to the delay”. Really!!!

  5. Avatar Steve Pettifer

    I love in Weston on the edge of Honiton, supposedly the first area of the chunk of CDS that covers Exmoor to Sidmouth or whatever. Given CDS have binned Gigaclear, I was surprised to find on my run today Gigaclear folks and their contractors digging up and working on the fibres they’d already laid in the village a year and a half ago but which have never been switched on. I’m wondering if they might try and turn areas they’ve started already into commercial areas. I hope so. It’s a big irony that Jurassic fibre have no current plans to roll out to us here but their depot with all the reels of fibre and whatnot is about half a mile from my house.

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