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Gigaclear UK Complete West Berkshire FTTP Broadband Rollout

Monday, May 10th, 2021 (3:09 pm) - Score 1,896
Gigaclear cables in engineers hand

Rural broadband ISP Gigaclear has revealed that they’ve now fully completed their last £1.8m (BDUK) West Berkshire deployment contract with the government funded Superfast Berkshire project, which since 2015 has helped to make their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network available to 14,000 extra premises.

Overall, Gigaclear has laid more than 700km (435 miles) of optical fibre cable across rural West Berkshire in England to connect more than 14,000 additional homes and businesses to its full fibre network, both commercially and as part of Superfast Berkshire. As a result “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) coverage of the same region has now reached over 98%.

Admittedly, the lion’s share of this work was actually completed last summer, but there were still a number of hard-to-reach communities left to tackle (a few hundred properties), which took a bit longer to resolve (hence today’s announcement).

However, it’s also worth remembering that the Phase 2 West Berkshire contract was originally due to complete all the way back in 2017, but it ended up suffering some significant delays due to the problems Gigaclear were experiencing at the time (here).

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

“We’re very pleased to be able to say we’ve completed our build in West Berkshire. Gigaclear’s work with Superfast Berkshire reached the final stages in the Summer of 2020, with only a hundred or so properties in outstanding wayleave areas to go. With those properties now connected, we’re officially finished.

It’s satisfying to know the job’s done, but really the most significant thing is knowing that all these people can now access ultrafast broadband after years of dealing with painfully slow internet. The pandemic really underlined how important internet access is, especially in historically underserved areas of the UK. We’re looking forward to closing out BDUK Berkshire Lot 2 soon and returning to the area on a commercial basis.”

The reference to Lot 2 above is intended to reflect Gigaclear’s Phase 3 contract for East Berkshire (6,111 premises), which was originally due to complete by the end of 2019 and is part-funded by £5.7m from the ISP itself. We haven’t had any updates on that in a long time, but judging by the above announcement they appear to be very close to completion.

Howard Woollaston, West Berkshire Council, said:

“I’m delighted that the majority of West Berkshire residents and businesses in rural areas are now receiving superfast broadband as part of this project.

This high level of connectivity has been a priority for us. 98% coverage is a great achievement and Superfast Berkshire has put our district into the very top tier of ultrafast broadband behind only parts of London and Bournemouth.

I hope that with Project Gigabit recently launched by DCMS, the remaining 2% will have similar access.

On a personal level, as a Gigaclear customer, the rollout has transformed my family’s digital life. Without it, with four of us working from home during lockdowns and with multiple screens, we would have been lost.”

The focus will now shift to how the Government’s new £5bn Project Gigabit programme will be able to fill in the remaining 2% of premises, as well as upgrading other areas. Berkshire is expected to be covered by Phase 2 of Project Gigabit, which is due to be announced in the near future.

Overall Gigaclear’s combined commercial and state aid supported deployments in Berkshire should enable their full fibre network to cover 27,000 premises.

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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.
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1 Response
  1. adslmax says:

    lucky them

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