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GoFibre Win Project Gigabit Broadband Rollout Contract for Teesdale

Thursday, Sep 29th, 2022 (12:01 am) - Score 1,216

The second Local Supplier contract under the UK Government’s new £5bn Project Gigabit broadband scheme – worth £6.6m – has today been awarded to rural ISP GoFibre (BorderLink), which will upgrade broadband for more than 4,000 hard-to-reach Teesdale premises in Northern England.

Project Gigabit aims to extend 1Gbps capable (download speed) networks to reach at least 85% of UK premises by the end of 2025, before hopefully achieving nationwide coverage (c. 99%) by around 2030 (here). Commercial investment is expected to deliver around 80% of this, which leaves the government’s scheme to focus on tackling the final 20% (mostly rural and some sub-urban areas), where the private sector alone would otherwise struggle.

NOTE: Around 70% of premises can already access a gigabit network (c. 40% via just FTTP). Project Gigabit is technology neutral, so it can be delivered via either “full fibre” FTTP, Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) or fixed wireless access (e.g. 5G).

The project uses a number of different approaches to tackle the problem (e.g. vouches and investment in dark fibre builds), but the largest part of the scheme involves a gap-funded subsidy approach – the Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy (GIS) programme. This is where small local and larger regional contracts are awarded to suppliers (network operators) who can help to build their gigabit-capable infrastructure across the final 20%.

The Building Digital UK (BDUK) team, which manages Project Gigabit, awarded their first GIS contract to Wessex Internet for North Dorset (Lot 14.01) last month (here), and they’ve now done the same for Teesdale (Lot 4.01) by awarding a contract to GoFibre. The new project will cover towns, villages and hamlets across the region, including premises near to Barnard Castle and Bishop Auckland, subject to further survey completion.

Planning is now underway, with construction due to begin in Spring 2023. The company itself is headquartered in Edinburgh, with an engineering depot in Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

Chris Jagusz, Chairman of GoFibre, said:

“Closing the digital divide and helping local communities to thrive by providing previously unimaginable levels of capability through high-quality broadband services is at the heart of everything we do. Through our latest appointment, we will work as a trusted partner, equipping Teesdale with world-class connectivity built for the future.”

Julia Lopez, Digital Infrastructure Minister, said:

“Families and businesses across rural Teesdale can soon say goodbye to buffering broadband and hello to lightning-fast speeds thanks to the government leading the biggest broadband roll out in British history.

I’m delighted Teesdale will be one of the first places to benefit from the dozens of multi-million pound contracts we will be signing over the coming weeks and months to make sure people in ‘hard-to-reach’ areas across the UK get the broadband they deserve.”

We should point out that GoFibre recently secured a significant investment of £164m from Gresham House (BSIF) to build their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across 500,000 premises in the North of England and Scottish Borders over the next 3-years – by around the end of 2025 (here), which the new contract will no doubt help to achieve.

Customers of the new service can expect to pay from £36 per month for a 100Mbps package on a 24-month term with an included wireless router, which rises to £69 per month for their top 1000Mbps plan. The latter also comes with a bonus Wi-Fi extender (this can optionally be taken on other plans for just £5 per month extra).

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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3 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Peter S says:

    With the larger network builders in a race to deploy their commercial rollouts, these smaller local procurements seem like the only ones BDUK are likely to get any interest in.

    It looks like the bulk of the final 20% are going to have to wait until the larger builders have some spare capacity and are therefore willing to bid, or the regional lots are broken down into smaller local ones (that smaller builders can manage).

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      These are just the first local supplier procurements. The first big regional contracts are still expected between now and the end of November, including:

      Cumbria (Lot 28) 60,800 premises – £109.2 million
      North East England (Lot 4) 61,800 premises – £89.6 million
      Cambridgeshire and adjacent areas (Lot 5) 49,700 premises – £68.6 million

    2. Avatar photo Peter S says:

      I believe BDUK have already had to defer some of the regional contracts.

      From BDUK’s summer 2022 update :-

      “Following extensive engagement with suppliers we have identified there is currently a high likelihood that procurements in Shropshire (Lot 25), Staffordshire (Lot 19) and the eastern part of Hertfordshire (part of Lot 26) will not be successful. Procurements in these areas have been deferred to review options for successful delivery.”

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