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Gigaclear to Build 18,500 UK FTTP Premises in the South West

Saturday, February 20th, 2021 (7:10 am) - Score 4,344
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Rural focused gigabit broadband ISP Gigaclear, which aims to cover 500,000 UK properties with their full fibre (FTTP) network by the end of 2023 (here), has announced that they will build their network to a further 18,500 premises in the South West of England during 2021.

At present the provider has already covered 12,000 homes and businesses in the South West with their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based network, which has predominantly focused on rural parts of Devon and Somerset. The bulk of this represents commercial build because they lost their contract with the state aid supported Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme in 2019 (here and here), which stemmed from a failure to deliver.

Nevertheless, the provider said they now plan to “accelerate progress through more efficient delivery times and a significant reinvestment” in the area. As part of that Gigaclear has opened up a new warehouse in Swindon to act as a distribution hub (supplying its workforce with stock and equipment), as well as signing a 3-year lease on offices in Taunton.

Jo Scarrott, South West General Manager at Gigaclear, said:

“It is really pleasing to see the progress we are making across the region. Building to 18,500 premises this year alone is a huge achievement and one that shows the speed at which we are now operating. Our time to build is dropping as we streamline our processes and we have heavily invested in the region, all of which are major contributing factors to our strong outlook.

In addition to that, we are continuously innovating and trialling new technologies that allow us to be more effective and efficient in the delivery of our service, plus it means we can reach the most remote communities that have been left alone by other providers.

Of course, we are always striving for improvement, but thousands of residents in rural villages and market towns across the South West can now look forward to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the world.”

By the sounds of it the ISP will be looking to make as much use of the UK Government’s forthcoming new £250m+ rural gigabit broadband voucher scheme as possible to help support all of this (here). In keeping with that the provider is now also offering to “apply for vouchers on behalf of future customers, taking on the administrative burden themselves.”

Leave a Comment
25 Responses
  1. Martin Bingle says:

    Gigaclear are about to install full fibre but will not provide a telephone service, which is useless to me. I need phone line as I cannot get a mobile signal. They say you can keep a BT line but line rental plus Gigaclear subscription will be astronomic. Gigaclear service will be very inferior to BT openreach which is very annoying as the openreach fibre is only 10metres away from my house.

    1. The Grumbler says:

      get VOIP. my god what a thing to grumble about… HD voice is better quality anyway.

    2. Hans says:

      After 2025 VOIP will be your only option anyways.

    3. CarlT says:

      Have to love a situation where Openreach FTTP is just metres away, it’s being overbuilt by an altnet but there’s no mobile signal.

      A reminder for all that the digital divide isn’t always as clearly cut as the rural-urban divide many would simplify it to.

    4. Anony says:

      VoWifi is a thing in mobile. You can use it to call and get calls with no service.

    5. NW London Person says:

      Martin – Get Gigaclear installed. Keep BT going until Gigaclear is live. Then arrange with a VOIP provider such as Vonage to port your number over.

      B4RN have a good piece on this for their customers (they don’t provide phone service): https://b4rn.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Vonage-phone-line-help-file-v11-2020.pdf

    6. AnotherTim says:

      “Have to love a situation where Openreach FTTP is just metres away, it’s being overbuilt by an altnet”
      Having OR FTTP metres away can mean different things – I have OR fibre metres away, but the nearest agg node to get a connection to is 11 miles away – so OR’s FTTP may not be being overbuilt.

    7. CarlT says:

      ‘Having OR FTTP metres away can mean different things – I have OR fibre metres away, but the nearest agg node to get a connection to is 11 miles away – so OR’s FTTP may not be being overbuilt.’

      Well, no, it means FTTP is metres away, fibre to the premises. Nothing to do with a fibre run going past, those are all over the place and irrelevant to residential FTTP provision.

      Can’t readily tap a high fibre count cable and spur off it to feed residential properties, still leaves the hardest part. If you’re a way away from that fibre, isolated or there’s loads of block paving involved it’s rapidly unviable to tap said cable due to civils cost to actually reach the properties and cost of installation of required kit on the provider side of the fibre.

      Minor issue of losing strands off of a high fibre count cable to provide a few hundred quid a month of residential services when the fibre could be making way more carrying a terabit of point to point traffic, too.

    8. AnotherTim says:

      @CarlT, you miss my point – which is that when people say there is fibre just yards away it often means there is a fibre running past, not that FTTP is available.

  2. Jim Weir says:

    Re Vouchers

    “apply for vouchers on behalf of future customers, taking on the administrative burden themselves.”

    That is how all the BDUK Voucher schemes have always operated – the supplier handles all the application paperwork and process, the beneficiary cant do this themselves.

  3. Sky1 says:

    Start something in Frome please. Practically no fttp due to large vm coverage in selected areas of the town…

  4. Sky1 says:

    @the fact says Sadly not our estate built 12 years ago. They aren’t interested even though the vm cables run right past it…

    1. GNewton says:

      What’s even worse The Facts is posting half-truths here again. VM-cable is not fibre, you can’t compare the two.

    2. Fastman says:

      Gnewton scemantics actually what is fact is that no altnet is going to to anywhere near where virgin media is already (regardless of how you say Vigin media is built as its that would be commericial suicide, virgin Media will be classified as ultrafast so no vouchers, no BDUk or Goverment support no funding available

    3. NE555 says:

      > no altnet is going to to anywhere near where virgin media is already

      That’s simply not true: CityFibre is overbuilding a bunch of places with Virgin Media coverage, and some with high penetration of Openreach FTTP, e.g. Milton Keynes.

      The truth is, an Altnet will overbuild anywhere they can make money. If the cost of building is low then they can steal customers away from Virgin Media or Openreach (either copper or FTTP). In CF’s model they do this by being cheaper than the competition. Most users aren’t worried about ultrafast speeds: they want a decent service at the cheapest possible price. Undercut the competition by 50p per month and you gain a ton of customers.

      It’s different for altnets in rural areas. Here, the “decent service” part comes into play – people are fed up with terrible service on copper, and will pay more. This justifies the higher build costs. But the same high build costs in these areas means VM has very little presence anyway.

    4. Fastman says:

      i woudnt even classify Cityfibre an altnet now – they are now a major player – and covering
      signifncant number of premises .across the county –

  5. AnotherTim says:

    I think that this shows that Gigaclear are moving to a more commercial model where they target medium sized villages rather than more rural areas that they previously concentrated on – they get faster and more profitable builds.
    They are doing this in the neighbouring Fastershire areas, where they are currently actively building in villages that have 80Mbps FTTC, while the BDUK rural properties with sub-USO ADSL that they were contracted to build to are being left until last.

    1. Fastman says:

      another tim

      They are doing this in the neighbouring Fastershire areas, where they are currently actively building in villages that have 80Mbps FTTC, while the BDUK rural properties with sub-USO ADSL that they were contracted to build to are being left until last.

      and you are surprised ? – interesting if other providers did this there would be significant angst, PAC questions , people jumping up and down – in this instance zilch

    2. AnotherTim says:

      No I’m not surprised – just disappointed (as usual). Seven years ago my property was a few months away from getting FTTC, four years ago that changed to FTTP being a year away – and it still is (and I expect that next year it still will be).
      However, I expect Gigaclear and Fastershire will win another award.

    3. Fastman says:

      ber very surprised if gigaclear won any more public BDUK work after the CDS travails

    4. AnotherTim says:

      I wouldn’t expect Gigaclear to bid for any more BDUK contracts, even if they were available – there’s more profit in commercial builds in more densely populated areas.

  6. Mike says:

    Receiving a decent mobile signal or broadband speed here (rural Monmouthshire), would be like finding rocking horse poo. We have been promised all sorts for 4 years by the various providers and all up to now have failed to improve anything. When one witnesses their so called engineers sitting in their vehicles supping coffee and munching food for hours on end it’s not too surprising then to discover they tend to fail to meet their delivery dates.

  7. AnotherTim says:

    I’ve just read the version of the press rele3ase that is on Gigaclear’s website – they say they have taken out “a three-year lease on 2,465 ft² offices and 430 ft² store in Taunton.”
    430 square feet? that’s the size of a double garage, so they can’t be expecting to need to store much!

  8. 1pf says:

    Fastershire and Gigaclear are woeful in my area…they have put on hold yet again the rollout in my area around the A40. Leaving villages with appalling broadband. I am sure they will win another award and get a pat on the back for poor service and installs.

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