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Update on Gigaclear’s FTTP Rollout Plan for Devon and Somerset

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 1,704

Rural full fibre broadband ISP Gigaclear has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that they are now in the final stages of piecing together the next phase of a revised commercial rollout plan for Devon and Somerset (England). Assuming all goes to plan then this could be finalised before the end of Q1 2020.

Readers will recall that the provider suffered a major setback after the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) project scrapped their state aid supported contract to deploy a Gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across remote parts of both counties (here). Gigaclear made some big mistakes in their management and planning, which delayed the local rollout by up to 2 years and in the end CDS lost confidence.

Sadly the situation left a number of communities with unfinished FTTP deployments and also forced the ISP to begin a review of their separate, but once complementary to the CDS plan, commercial roll-out in the region. As part of that commercial plan the operator had originally proposed to invest £67.3m in order to cover 43,000 premises across rural parts of Devon and Somerset.

The good news is that the outcome from Gigaclear’s review of their commercial plans in the South West will soon be known and it might bring some positive news.

Jo Scarrott, Regional Manager for Gigaclear South West, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“Gigaclear have built over 7000 POTS across the South West region and are continuing to build within the region. We are currently concluding the planning and design of our next phase of commercial network build for the coming year. We are aiming to have our build plans finalised over the next 3 months which will allow us to inform those residents who are included.

Residents can continue to register their interest and check service availability on our website, which will be updated with our next phase of build as soon as we can.”

The big question now is whether or not Gigaclear will have to scale-back their original commercial deployment target. Likewise some locals in affected areas will also want to know whether the ISP intends to go back and complete at least some of their unfinished FTTP builds in the region.

We know that in some areas, such as across the Bigbury Parish in Devon, Gigaclear has already completed a “significant amount of installation work” and is keen to get a financial return for those efforts. In keeping with that the local council has given some indication (here) that there may be positive news in the near future, which might bode well for other part-built areas too (Credits to Steve for spotting).

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14 Responses
  1. Avatar Sam Machin

    There’s a Gigaclear Cab about 2miles up the main road from me (Brockley North Somerset) Noticed the other day that there were some techs with a splice kit there and a tent over the cab so perhaps they’re in the commissioning stages, I think this might be to bring the Brokley, Chelvey and Nailsea Wall areas online. No sign of any civils around me though:(

  2. Avatar sd

    After 18 months wait Gigaclear contacted me 2 weeks ago to tell me I can finally order my connection. 1 week later their support team sent me a massive apology email saying they can’t actually connect my house as things stand as their survey showed the fibre is broken? They can’t even give me a timescale and will give me fortnightly updates..
    Meanwhile my FTTC with BT is about to run out.. what do I do? Do I cancel my order as I am in in my 14 days cool off period; what do I do if I need to resign for my FTTC as these are usually 24 month contracts.
    Just such a shame Gigaclear is so bad a communicating..

    • Avatar NE555

      There are providers who offer 1-month contracts on FTTC.

    • Avatar Lodge

      Details of ISPs who offer one month contracts would be appreciated.

    • Avatar PhilH

      I’m in a similar situation in South Devon and have have just started FTTC service on a monthly notice contract with Pulse8 – https://pulse8broadband.co.uk/ who I’m really impressed by – excellent, clear communication, a local support desk who know what they’re talking about, call back when they promise to and sorted out an Openreach issue very quickly. In theory Gigaclear are supposed to be lighting up their service here in the next few months, but given their long history of delays I may well stay with the Pulse8 FTTC service for a good while. Not the cheapest FTTC service, but after a torrid time with Vodafone I’m very impressed with a provider who deliver on what they promise without holding you to ransom with 12-18 month contracts.

    • Avatar Steve Pettifer

      NowTV offer rolling one month FTTC deals but don’t bother. Absolute crap. I stuck with them for a year hoping Gigaclear would come good but I’ve lost patience now. Going back to Sky who were always perfectly ok in the many years unused them, which is weird given they own NowTV. I can’t see FTTP happening in the next 18 months round me given the CDS debacle and that we were part of it.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @SD
      Given Gigaclear’s appalling record of non-delivery in the Devon and Somerset area, I would advise against basing any decision on information or timescales that it supplies. I’d suggest going with a decent FTTC-based solution for now (probably a longer contract than a month to get a reasonable deal) and only thinking about switching over to Gigaclear if/when service is actually available to your property when your contract comes up for renewal.

    • Avatar SD

      @ New_Londoner

      That’s why I have done – I cancelled my Gigaclear order within the cooling off period and have resigned for 24 months with my current FTTC ISP. We’ll see how Gigaclear does in 24 months from here; although I’d love to get faster speeds, reliability and trust is more important to me and that’s what I got from my FTTC provider over the past 18 months.

  3. Avatar MikeP

    “We are aiming to have our build plans finalised over the next 3 months…..”

    How much confidence can be placed in that aimed-for date given their history?

  4. Avatar Nick Brennan

    The only thing Gigaclear are capable of delivering is Delays, Disappointment, and customer Dissatisfaction.
    I’ve been waiting since Nov 2018! rollout plan now states Q1 2021?

    #GigaUnclear
    #GigaUnfinished

    • Avatar SD

      Couldn’t agree more!

      10 days ago I got told I could finally order, so I ordered on the phone.
      A few days later I receive a massive apology email from their support team saying they can not connect me in the near future as the fibre is broken.(it is brand new and already broken?)
      I decided to cancel my order as I am in my 14 days cooling off period.
      Now this morning, I receive an email saying good news, you can be connected call us to arrange an engineer visit.
      I’ll be honest, I have never seen such a bad start and I am sure they can not connect me but that is just a standard email as confirmed by their field team..
      I’ll just stay with my current FTTC @ 30Mbits/S for the next 2 years; it might not be as fast as what I could get with Gigaclear but I fundamentally do not trust them and my FTTC has been faultless for 2 years, not a single problem and that’s worth a slower speed to me!

  5. Avatar Bob Jones

    Gigaclear are currently undertaking civil at Watergore, Near Lopen and Merriott in Somerset.
    All these villages and hamlets had Gigaclear ducting installed when the CDS contract was active.
    Gigaclears green cabinets are already in situ around Lopen.

  6. Avatar Richard Auld

    Why were Gigaclear being given public money to provide FTTP to someone who has 30Mb FTTC? There are plenty of areas with much lower bandwidths – a friend in Somerset has less than 1Mbps

  7. Avatar BILL HOLDER

    Gigaclear lie all the time, we have been waiting in East Hertfordshire since 2016!, they started digging road over a year ago and sacked the guys, then they have taken whole year to find more people that is very untrue and now they said its problem getting power to the cabinet, when they dont even have one lol. I think we should all put a class action complain to ofcom.

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