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Gigaclear Bring 1Gbps Full Fibre to 4 Rural Forest of Dean Villages

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 (7:56 am) - Score 1,554
gigaclear fastershire fttp build

Some 1,274 homes and businesses across the remote rural Gloucestershire villages of Highnam, Maisemore, Tibberton and Upleadon (i.e. the Forest of Dean district) can now access a 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband connection after UK ISP Gigaclear completed their rollout in the communities.

The work forms part of Gigaclear’s state aid supported deployment under Phase 2 of the Fastershire programme, which despite some big delays (here) will eventually see their “full fibre” network being extended to cover around 70,000 premises across rural parts of both Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

NOTE: Phase 2 aims to increase “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) coverage in Gloucestershire to 97% (currently c.95%), through contracts with Gigaclear and BT (Openreach).

Overall the provider claims to have installed a total of nearly 83km of fibre optic cabling to connect the four villages, which were “previously considered too remote to reach with a network of this kind” (this is roughly the distance from the Forest of Dean to Weston-Super-Mare). Sadly no details about the cost of this deployment were revealed, although we assume the new cable may help to reach other areas too.

Upleadon Village Hall is one of those already benefiting from the connection. Built in 1906, the old school building was revived several years ago and opened as the village hall serving over 60 homes in the community. In September 2019, Gigaclear connected the hall to its service for free as part of its Village Hub Scheme.

Peter Pentecost, Regional General Manager at Gigaclear, said:

“The village hall is such an important amenity for people living close by, which is why we offered to connect the property for free. Our Village Hub Scheme aims to support the key meeting places in the areas where we’ve built our ultrafast network. It’s something we now plan to roll out in all the villages that we’ll be setting live over the coming weeks.

We’re extremely proud to be serving these villages and are looking forward to reaching more areas in the Forest of Dean soon, empowering rural communities with better broadband.”

Rt Hon Mark Harper, MP for the Forest of Dean, said:

“I welcome the work that Gigaclear are doing as part of the Fastershire project and I was pleased to visit Tibberton recently to see the progress that has been made to provide ultrafast broadband to my constituents living there.

As well as Tibberton, the service is live in Highnam, Upleadon and Maisemore, and I know residents are already seeing the benefits.

I will continue to fully support the roll out across the Forest of Dean and I am pleased to hear that progress is being made to connect communities in Minsterworth, Longhope, Littledean and Cinderford over the next few months.”

We haven’t seen an update on Gigaclear’s revised build plan for the Fastershire scheme in awhile, although earlier this year it was suggested that they may not fully complete their local rollout contract until January 2022.

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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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6 Responses
  1. Avatar AnotherTim

    Hurrah! It is nice to see progress (even if it is very behind the original schedule).
    However, I’m a bit worried by the statement that the villages were “previously considered too remote to reach” – Highnam, Maisemore, and Tibberton are no more than 4 miles from Gloucester, and Upleaden is only a little further. If that is “too remote to reach” I dread to think how the bulk of the Forest of Dean will be described.

    • Avatar wirelesspacman

      Highnam was also pretty much covered by FTTH “superfast” speeds (except one part where the cables back to the cab are too long for much more than 10 to 15 Mbps) and we (Loop Scorpio) are also active there (have been for donkey’s years) and can provide both superfast and ultrafast (100 Mbps) in the bit “allocated” to Gigaclear for BDUK subsidies – not that anyone checked with us first of course!

  2. Avatar AnotherTim

    A slight aside, but why do Gigaclear sometimes say “speeds of up to 900Mbps” and sometimes say “1Gbps capable”? And does 900Mbps really count as a Gigabit connection?

    • Avatar Ryan

      It’s probably because with a 1Gb/s link, it’s not possible to actually achieve 1Gb/s with the overhead required, often you’ll usually get around 900Mb/s when maxing out the link so 1000Mb/s is not technically possible unless it’s over provisioned to the router. It could also be that they’re covering themselves when people plug in gigabit capable devices to the router and only get 900Mb/s because of the overhead meaning you’d never see 1000Mb/s on a gigabit ethernet device.

    • Avatar James Harrison

      Gigaclear engineer here – our *average speeds for TCP throughput as measured using Ofcom’s methodology* are 900Mbps, so that’s what we advertise in line with the broadband speeds code of practice. Most other gigabit FTTP operators do the same for their gigabit products.

      They’re actually a bit higher, but 900’s a nice number; 940 is the maximum theoretical capacity for TCP transmission (using regular MTUs, max window sizes, etc) on a gigabit bearer using Ofcom’s required measurement methodology (which is HTTP based).

      It is, for all intents and purposes, a gigabit product – it isn’t capped at 900 or anything like that, and it’s a (contended, of course) gigabit Ethernet connection end-to-end. “1Gbps capable” isn’t something I’m aware that we say, but it is technically accurate if you’re just using Ethernet frames to send data with no overheads. That sort of thing isn’t representative of most user’s usage, though, hence the Ofcom code of practice focusing on TCP performance! It’s only really relevant for B2B Ethernet products to know it’s an actual gigabit bearer.

  3. Avatar Graham H

    I ordered this service in Lowbands over 2years ago so far did lay squat and no prospect of any progress. I am not holding my breath.

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