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Progress on Gigaclear’s East Berkshire FTTP Broadband Rollout

Friday, October 9th, 2020 (1:58 pm) - Score 1,656
gigaclear_fibre_route_engineers

After a bit of a delay it appears as if rural UK ISP Gigaclear is finally starting to make some solid progress on their state aid supported contract in East Berkshire, which over the last nine months has laid 55km of new fibre to help cover 4,300 premises with their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network.

The original Phase 3 Superfast Berkshire contract for East Berkshire was signed in July 2017 and included a commitment to cover a further 6,111 premises across 29 communities, although soon after that the provider ran into some well documented delays (its build was originally due to complete by September 2019) and also had to figure out how to cross a tricky rail line.

NOTE: The 4,300 premises mentioned today include a recent build to over 1,800 and the activation of nearly 2,500 previously built connections.

However, the provider now claims to be making “swift progress“, which has seen 7 communities in Wokingham and 2 in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead go live since November 2019; this came after the successful crossing of the Great Western Main Line near Twyford.

More locations are expected to go live in the coming months, including connections for the next 7 communities.

Laura Jones, South Central General Manager at Gigaclear, said:

“Building ultrafast broadband networks in rural areas is naturally challenging, that’s why other suppliers have failed to reach these communities. We regularly have to negotiate wayleaves and overcome complicated obstacles, as was the case in East Berkshire.

Railways are heavily protected by legislation and crossing them is an exceptional engineering feat – they can slow us down considerably. But now that we have successfully crossed the rail line which separated East Berkshire from the rest of our ultrafast network, we have been able to make real headway in the area at an incredible pace, laying 40km of cable – the equivalent distance from Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace – to get as many communities connected as we can.

COVID-19 has slowed us down, but the situation just goes to show how important connectivity is. Our work is considered essential by Government, so we have been able to continue working where safe to do so and we hope to connect the remaining properties in the area as soon as possible.”

All of this will no doubt help the wider Superfast Berkshire project to achieve its goal of delivering “superfast broadband” coverage to over 99% of premises (they’re almost at that level now). We should point out that Gigaclear contributed a capital investment of £5.7m to this contract.

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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.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. annon says:

    thats great , what about the properties openreach say has line speed capability of 30mb but in reality is less than 20mb due to distance etc. superfast berks say this means we don’t get covered even though half the street got FTTP under BDUK.

    1. Rory says:

      I was just outside the scope of Gigaclear (internet speed wasn’t poor – 25mg+/-) so I had to contact them directly to ask them to extend to my house. The road adjacent to me has the full FTTP deployment and now I am getting it installed hopefully in the next month or so.

      Worth asking them directly.

  2. ADSL SCRUB says:

    So having had a install and go live date back in Nov 2018!!, the delay hurdles have apparently been overcome? Great!
    I’d already started to pick up Gigaclear SSID’s popping up on my phone! WOW! decided to send an e-mail to the network build update team to enquire when I could expect a connection? as I’ve not yet seen the civils teams laying the customer connection points in the streets leading up to mine?

    Their response

    “Good morning

    Thank you for your email.

    Unfortunately, there is an outstanding land agreement which is preventing the works going ahead at this current time.

    This was chased by my network access team on the 16th so hopefully we hear back about this shortly.

    Once we have heard back, we can then put a permit in to get the works scheduled.

    This should appear on the website one.network once this is in place.

    Kind regards,”

    Question is surely this agreement was already in place if I had an install date back in Nov 2018??

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