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Gigaclear Complete GBP21m West Oxfordshire Full Fibre Rollout

Friday, November 5th, 2021 (3:10 pm) - Score 1,272
gigaclear manhole

Some 16,000 extra premises across rural parts of West Oxfordshire in England can now access a gigabit speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network after Gigaclear completed its local project, worth £21m, in the district. The area has now also achieved almost universal (99%+) coverage of “superfast broadband” (30Mbps).

The project started all the way back in 2017 (here), after the West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) secured two agreements with rural ISP Gigaclear. The first was a state aid support project, while the second reflected the provider’s own commercial investment in the region.

At the time, it was stated that 10,000+ extra premises (homes and businesses) would benefit. The first contract aimed to reach 4,600 properties and was supported by a public investment of £3.1m from Building Digital UK and the WODC, with a further £5m coming from Gigaclear (£8.1m total). On top of that the ISP also invested £8m to connect another 5,700 homes in the area to their full fibre network.

However, according to today’s news, a total of £21m actually ended up going toward the effort and, since 2017, Gigaclear has laid more than 700km (435 miles) of fibre optical cable across rural West Oxfordshire to connect around 16,000 homes and businesses to its network. The WODC put the figure at 4,788 premises for their contract and 10,460 for Gigaclear’s own build.

Celina Joiner, Gigaclear’s Programme Manager, said:

“We worked in partnership with West Oxfordshire District Council to deliver this £21 million project.

It’s satisfying to know the hard part of the job’s done, and it’s a been a huge investment on our part – we contribute approximately £10 for every £1 of BDUK subsidy to connect some of the most rural communities. But the most significant thing is knowing how so many people can now access ultrafast broadband after years of dealing with painfully poor internet. The pandemic truly underlined how important a fast, reliable connection is, especially in historically underserved areas of the county.

Although our project with the West Oxfordshire District Council is complete, we’re still very active across West Oxfordshire building with commercial investment and continuing our important work in some of the region’s most remote communities.”

Robert Courts, MP for Witney, said:

“I am pleased to welcome the progress that Gigaclear have made, working with West Oxfordshire District Council, to deliver ultrafast broadband to even more of my constituents. The ability to access full fibre, ultrafast broadband Is essential for so many people and I welcome the progress and investment that Gigaclear have made since 2017, supported by the BDUK subsidy, which has helped them build the network in some of the most rural areas of my constituency. I know Gigaclear are working on plans to continue to extend their network and I look forward to hearing more about those in due course.”

The announcement states that this work “equates to [30%] of the region having access to gigabit capable broadband,” but Thinkbroadband’s database shows that 39% of the district can access a full fibre “FTTP” network and 68% can now order a gigabit-capable connection when you include Virgin Media’s gigabit-capable Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) network.

The good news is that Gigaclear said they would “continue to expand” in West Oxfordshire on a commercial basis. Indeed, come 2023, the rural broadband ISP “aims to double its reach to more communities in the region“.

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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
4 Responses
  1. Toby says:

    There’s a lot of Gigaclear activity planned in the villages near us – Hanslope and Castlethorpe in Buckinghamshire and Hartwell and Cosgrove in Northamptonshire – looking forward to FTTP becoming available for us!

    1. AnotherTim says:

      There’s a lot of Gigaclear activity around my area that has been planned for over 5 years. We’ve had traffic disruption for the last year, but no connections as yet…
      Don’t hold your breath!

  2. Bob says:

    BT are developing a mole. The technology exists it is a matter of perfecting it. If they get it right it will consierably speed up the role out and eliminate most of the disruption as roads and footpaths will not need to be closed

    1. AnotherTim says:

      My neighbour uses mole traps on his land – is that going to be a problem?

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