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Gigaclear to Complete Unfinished Builds in Devon and Somerset

Thursday, February 6th, 2020 (12:05 pm) - Score 2,110
gigaclear fibre optic street works rural

A small but important update has just been issued, which confirms that UK rural “full fibre” broadband ISP Gigaclear has reached a settlement with the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) project. As part of that the provider will continue a commitment to complete the work in areas that were started under the former contracts.

The ISP suffered a major setback last year after the 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 of the programme, which delayed the local roll-out by up to 2 years and in the end CDS lost confidence in their ability to deliver.

Sadly the situation also left a number of communities with unfinished FTTP deployments and forced the ISP to begin a review of their separate – albeit 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 new statement from Gigaclear doesn’t spell out precisely what has been agreed with the CDS team but it does seem to suggest that those unfinished areas will now be completed.

Gigaclear Statement

Following the termination of the contracts in September 2019 between Connecting Devon & Somerset (CDS) and Gigaclear Ltd by CDS, both parties have announced that they have reached a settlement. Both parties will continue to focus on future plans for the delivery of broadband to the people of the region. CDS welcomes the terms of the settlement which will be reinvested in the local broadband programme.

CDS also welcomes Gigaclear’s commitment to continue with its roll-out of full fibre broadband in those communities where work started under the former contracts.

Gigaclear are continuing to invest in the region, delivering ultrafast broadband to homes and businesses, having now connected over 3000 properties to its network.

For further information see: https://www.gigaclear.com/devon-and-somerset

The ‘further information’ page mentioned above doesn’t add anything new and notes that Gigaclear has so far invested over £20m into the Devon and Somerset regions, although an update issued last year said that they’d so far only been able to build “over 7,000 POTS [Point of Termination] across the South West” (here); 7,000 premises from £20m works out to a very hefty per premises cost of around £2,857.

Just to confuse matters the above statement talks about 3,000 “connected“, although this sounds more like live customers than premises passed. Otherwise locals in areas of unfinished builds may want to keep an eye on Gigaclear’s availability checker. Meanwhile we continue to await details of their revised commercial plan for the two counties.

Leave a Comment
16 Responses
  1. Avatar Oliver

    POTS – point of termination. It’s the Gigaclear equivalent of the Customer Slice Point that Openreach would install outside a home during a two stage FTTP install (most are one stage these days).

    • Ah that makes more sense 🙂

    • Avatar CarlT

      POTS look like cable company drop points.

      CSPs are installed on the customer’s outside wall. Not entirely sure customers would appreciate Gigaclear digging up their gardens to put a CSP on their outside wall.

      Not entirely sure why Gigaclear aren’t using Tobys instead – https://hexatronic.co.uk/products/network-products/subscriber-underground-access-chamber/toby-box/ – but whatever works for them. Same basic concept – duct running past, swept-t up to one of those.

      It’s actually quite old school and might explain some of their costs per premises passed.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Ah. Yes now I know why they aren’t using Tobys. Those are full on connectorised fibre points inside the POT. They are front-loading a bunch of the cost of install to each property into having fibre into each POT from the beginning. They aren’t just building out duct to the customer they’re actually getting fibre out to each one at the same time.

      Thanks, Oliver, for the extra information.

      That is…. different.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      GC are using tobys.

    • Avatar Jim Weir

      GC used to build fibre to each Pot on the property boundary, but changed a few years ago to just running duct and then blowing fibre to the Pot from a local FDH cabinet when the customers order service.

      Unlike a CSP or Toby box they are not near the property external wall rather on the public highway boundary – in some cases a considerable distance from the property.

      # of Pots = homes / businesses passed

    • Avatar CarlT

      Public highway boundary is where I’d expect a Toby to be – can’t go outside that without wayleave.

      Where there are private roads awaiting wayleave before build completion makes sense to leave a drop outside them, too.

      The bit that surprised was just how much they were spending on each property before they’ve taken an order. Those POTs just add to what is already a titanic cost per premises passed.

      Anyone wondering why CityFibre are CityFibre and Virgin Media build where they are? Their respective £4-500 and £650 per premises passed budgets relative to Gigaclear’s nearly 3 grand is a hint.

  2. Avatar nedmusic

    Pots are Point of termination -every property passed will have a PoT

  3. Avatar Fred

    A little more clarity I suppose. Looks like where I live is definitely out of the picture – I think there is a Gigaclear fibre and cabinet halfway to the village but don’t expect it to go any further. Thankfully Truespeed are currently rolling out in the village. #Gigaunclear was a spectacular farce though….

  4. Avatar Graham Long

    The Gigaclear Point of Termination box is buried in the ground on your property boundary. It contains a water resistant Toby Box containing a fibre termination into which the Pot to building fibre is plugged. Gigaclear now include running the fibre from the POT into the property and installing the fibre router in the connection fee.

  5. Avatar joe

    Hmm Well better than nothing but I think ppl in D will want a lot more clarity than that from both the council and GC

    • Avatar James

      Devon and Somerset both I think! Utter farce and now well towards the back of the queue for BT/Openreach as we are supposedly “remote rural” connections – 5 minutes from the M5!

    • Avatar joe

      Most of the GC was in Devon but certainly S has some impact as well. You’ll get good 5g @m5 I’d guess so that should be a good option for you.

    • Avatar James

      No 5G where we are, can’t get 4g at the house so really interested to see how they address the USO when it comes around!

  6. Avatar New_Londoner

    Let’s hope that the local politicians do a better job of holding the council project team and Gigaclear to account this time as the consequences for the miserable performance by both parties to date appear very limited.

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