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Gigaclear Raise Full Fibre Target to 1 Million UK Premises on Funding Boost

Thursday, Jun 8th, 2023 (8:55 am) - Score 4,184
Gigaclear cables in engineers hand

Abingdon-based alternative network and UK ISP Gigaclear, which has built a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network to cover 380,000 premises in rural areas, has today secured fresh equity investment from Equitix – worth “up to” £420m – and raised their target to cover “over” 1 million premises by 2027.

Until today, the Infracapital-backed ISP was investing up to £700 million to reach 500,000 UK premises (Ready for Service) across 23 counties by the end of 2024, or the end of 2023 if you include built but not yet RFS premises (here). In theory, today’s announcement would mean that they have not only doubled their rollout target, but have also committed a total of up to around £1.1bn to support it.

NOTE: The operator, which has 75,000 customers, also reported that they now cover 450,000 premises across 23 counties (unclear if this is RFS), which is up from 380,000 in Jan 2023.

Residential customers of the service typically pay from £17 a month (£40 after 18-months) for a symmetric 200Mbps broadband package on an 18-month term, and this rises to £49 (£79 after 18-months) for their top 830Mbps plan. All packages include a wireless router and free installation.

Gareth Williams, CEO of Gigaclear, said:

“We are delighted Equitix has chosen to invest with us as we continue to expand our network to underserved rural towns and villages that would otherwise be left behind. Equitix recognises, as we do, that focusing on connecting poorly-served rural communities clearly differentiates us from other providers of fibre to the home.

There are more than one million additional homes and businesses in the UK for us to build to that fall within our company’s mission. Gigaclear will push forward, ensuring many more communities in rural England are able to benefit from the ultrafast full fibre broadband speeds enjoyed by their urban counterparts.

Alongside our commercial expansion, we will continue to explore opportunities to work with the Government on its Building Digital (BDUK) programme, evaluating each opportunity on a case-by-case basis.”

Hugh Crossley, CEO of Equitix, added:

“We are proud to partner with Infracapital and the Gigaclear team in delivering reliable, affordable, full fibre broadband to rural areas of the UK. In line with our strategic aims to support the UK’s infrastructure and essential services whilst positively impacting local communities, our investment here is a positive step towards generating connectivity for all. Fibre is essential infrastructure and we like the barriers to entry and predictable low risk revenues generated by Gigaclear, the largest rural altnet in the UK.”

The fact that this announcement occurs at a time when quite a few alternative networks are starting to show signs of strain (job losses, consolidation etc.), due to the difficult market conditions (i.e. rising costs, aggressive competition etc.), will not be lost on anybody. The ability to continue raising significant investment in this environment suggests a strong degree of investor confidence in the operator’s approach.

Gigaclear has of course been building for many years longer than most AltNets, and they’ve been doing so in some of the most expensive to tackle rural areas, which tends to disproportionately raise build costs. On the flip side, there’s often less competition for AltNets to worry about in rural communities, although this does vary between locations.

However, the provider’s potential pursuit of contracts under BDUK’s Project Gigabit may be a tougher sell, given the struggles and delays they’ve experienced with delivering some of their previous state aid supported contracts (e.g. Devon and Somerset). The operator today is different from the one that ran into those problems, but politicians – being mindful of public opinion – may still be wary.

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Mark-Jackson
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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Comments
7 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Frank says:

    The best FTTP business. Especially since Tony Smith arrived.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      They are pretty good, other half use them, but they don’t like their consumers going to a lower plan once a contract is out. My other half wanted to go to a lower plan as she doesn’t need 1Gbit, the person on the other end of the phone was a bit off with her. She was not impressed.

      What is the point of paying extra for something she doesn’t need?

      she will not say anything to them as she doesn’t want to get people into trouble, as she said to me, maybe they were having a bad day.

  2. Avatar photo Jason says:

    That photo says it all about that network ! Just asking for trouble sticking fibre inside those tubes

    1. Avatar photo Roger says:

      Where would you like them to stick it Jason……..

    2. Avatar photo John says:

      Hopefully that is a rhetorical question not a rectal one

    3. Avatar photo XGS Is On says:

      Sure that isn’t just for drops?

  3. Avatar photo Not getting my money says:

    They’re desperate for your business. I’m getting flyers from them constantly. I have no trust in these kinds of providers, you’re locked in with them. At least with OpenReach infrastructure you can choose another provider.

    Not to mention that they don’t even offer a full Gigabit service and don’t even have an estimated date of service.

    They’ll only invest once they reach their offer numbers and then you’ll be stuck with 2 people on out of hours customer service if you are lucky.

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