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Gigaclear’s Broadband to Battle Zzoomm in Ascot and Sunninghill

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 (4:05 pm) - Score 1,824

Rural focused UK broadband ISP Gigaclear has today announced that they intend to deploy their gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across 4,300 premises in Ascot, and a further 4,400 properties in the village of Sunninghill (Berkshire). But they’ll need to fend off altnet rivals Zzoomm, and possibly also Trooli.

At present Gigaclear’s full fibre network is already present across much of the nearby area, which is largely thanks to their prior state aid supported deployment via the Building Digital UK programme and local authority. The provider is now in the process of expanding their existing network, on a commercial basis, to tackle some “underserved market towns” that were previously missed (infill).

NOTE: Gigaclear’s FTTP network is currently available to 170,000 premises in rural England, and they aim to reach 500,000 UK properties by 2023.

According to today’s announcement, the project in Ascot and Sunninghill will require over 32,000 metres of fibre to be laid in new trenching, as well as through existing duct and pole infrastructure (Openreach PIA). Assuming all goes to plan, the expansion of Gigaclear’s network build to Ascot is expected to be completed by “early 2022.”

Laura Jones, Gigaclear’s South Central General Manager, said:

“We’ve already been building our network in rural Berkshire where we’ve focussed on bridging the digital divide and addressing inadequate broadband provision. Now that we’ve got a well-established network here, we can turn our attention to its market towns, like Ascot, which are calling out for better internet.

Fast broadband speeds are a necessity for a modern economy. The way in which we live and work depends on the internet, something that has been sharply underlined by the pandemic. We believe in digital inclusion for all and we’re excited to bring our network to more people so they can enjoy the life-changing benefits that come with world-leading connectivity.”

The only difficulty here is that, despite the otherwise economically challenging nature of this area for such deployments, Gigaclear are not the only operator with eyes fixed on it. Back in March 2021 another altnet provider called Zzoomm, which just so happens to be owned by Gigaclear’s former owner and CEO, Matthew Hare, revealed that they too were planning to start building across 9,000 premises in the area from this summer (here).

Admittedly Gigaclear may have the advantage here as their network is already present nearby, and they’ve also started to build into the target area. On top of that we note that another altnet provider, Trooli, similarly appear to have some FTTP build around the northern side of Sunninghill. Suffice to say that to have three altnet full fibre builders all present in close proximity is an incredibly rare sight, at least it is outside a few dense urban builds.

We have to question the economic sustainability of this sort of battle as such an area may struggle to support that many FTTP deployments, but at least locals look set to enjoy plenty of choice. Such a sight may however be quite galling for all those living in areas, including many urban locations, where there is still no choice of even a single FTTP provider, let alone three.

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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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10 Responses
  1. Peter Rabbit says:

    This will be levelling up!!

    Come to rural Derbyshire, we need FTTP

  2. Billy Nomates says:

    Imagine being fortunate enough to live in an area that has to fight off FTTP competition, when so many towns have got zero FTTP providers. How I envy the fortunate.

    1. Dave says:

      Indeed, I’ve always wondered what the rationale is behind entering a competitive market when there are so many more densely populated areas of the country that still only have mediocre FTTC products available.

      I suspect it is (rather flawed) demographic profiling.

  3. Lumenary says:

    I work in the telecoms industry but no connection to any of these companies. I live in Sunninghill and was excited when Zzoom first announced plans to build – although no news since despite signing up their marketing. Then a few weeks ago the Trooli engineers started pulling cables into ducts outside my street. Gigaclear were also working here a few months ago but only connected up few houses as I think they were just passing by. Frankly, not sure how a small village like this would support 3 alt net providers, but I’ll likely sign with the first one to offer live service and so I can ditch my 40/10 FTTC.

    1. RP says:

      I also live in that area. Looks like both trooli and gigaclear are going to be laying. Do you have any insight into which is the better provider? Am I right in thinking that Gigaclear offer symmetrical upload and download whilst trooli don’t?

  4. Interested Party says:

    When they say ‘rural’, I assume they mean wealthy commuter town.

  5. A_Builder says:

    This does sound a little nutty in the commercials TBH.

    I am a bit surprised that one of the three has not chosen another similar sized town/village to blanket instead.

    This might not be good for full coverage of the area.

  6. DrBloodsaw says:

    sounds great to me when i plan on living in that area in the next 2 years!

    cant wait to see that happen! the speeds in that area are atrocious!

  7. mick says:

    just had another flyer pushed through the door,for Swish fibre, are there going to be three different cable companies offering FTP in ascot/sunninghill area

  8. Jim Porter says:

    Shows what an idiotic method our government has chosen to implement such an important element of national infrastructure. Government should have done this once and made a profit charging for access to the network while companies could foght it out on backend infrastructure and customer service. Now in my area we are having zzoomm laid while openreach have it on their plan and trooli are floating around. Looks lkke my street may be dug up at least 3 times. Should have just nationalised openreach, had them do it once then charged for access to the network.

    Maybe the government should require all thise digging to share last mile/s infrastructure while competing at the backend.

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