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New UK ISP Gig-ability Prep FTTP Broadband Build in Shropshire

Wednesday, Jan 3rd, 2024 (11:11 am) - Score 1,760
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A new alternative network and broadband ISP called Gig-ability is in the final stages of being setup. The operator appears, at least initially, to be planning to deploy a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across poorly served rural villages in Shropshire (England), before expanding into other parts of the UK.

The network operator, which has been setup by the former boss of South Gloucestershire focused AltNet RunFibre, Dave Swanston, initially appears to be targetting the communities of Ackleton, Badger, Beckbury, Chelmarsh, Chesterton, Claverley, Eardington, Hampton Loade, Hilton, Ludstone, Much Wenlock, Stableford, Sutton, Worfield and Wyken.

NOTE: The company Gigability Limited (15294189) was officially incorporated on 20th November 2023 and is based in the Buckinghamshire town of Princes Risborough.

According to Dave, Gig-ability aspires to cover 10,000extremely rural premises“, starting this month with a build in the small Shropshire parish and market town of Much Wenlock. The town is home to a population of almost 3,000 and currently isn’t served by any gigabit-capable broadband networks, although Openreach and Airband aren’t far away.

The provider hopes to create 15 local jobs in Shropshire, and they’re currently in the final stages of securing approval to harness Openreach’s existing cable ducts and poles (PIA), which will be used to help run some of their new fibre optic cables. But a good chunk of their roll-out is to be handled by a principle build partner, which is being selected. Code Powers to aid street works are also being secured from Ofcom via Trenches Law.

In terms of funding, Gig-ability has secured an initial investment of £1m to kick-start their mobilisation, which could rise by another £5m if they’re able to hit the usual progress milestones along the way. In theory, this could then be replicated for a future expansion into parts of Wiltshire and Scotland (potentially pushing their committed investment to around £15m), which would ultimately form part of their wider Phase 1 build.

As well as the commercial investment, the provider is also considering the possibility of harnessing the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) and may even bid on some smaller contracts within the £5bn Project Gigabit programme, although it remains to be seen how successful they will be in that regard.

Starting a new AltNet in this climate, particularly one with a focus on rural areas (not the cheapest of places to build), is no mean feat and Gig-ability will no doubt have a busy year as they begin their early build phase. Naturally, we’ll stop back later to see how much progress they’re making.

The first customers can expect to pay from just £15 per month for their 250Mbps “Equal Access” package on a 12-month term, which rises to only £37.50 for their top 1Gbps tier – all with symmetrical speeds. Such pricing is aggressively competitive, but may also make it harder for the operator to secure a timely return on their investment.

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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
10 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

    Given that each and everyone of these locations is just 5 miles or less from us at Aquiss HQ, we know these areas very well. Some listed have less than 50 properties (Ludstone, Wyken).

    The above, along with Bridgnorth, the main town for all these reference points are already seeing and seen Openreach FTTP appearing over the last few weeks. CBTs are flying up everywhere.

    There is a big part of my head going, commercially this makes no sense.

    1. Avatar photo Ben says:

      Isn’t that Openreach’s SOP? Rural areas get neglected until an altnet looks like they might turn up, then Openreach hurry up and get full fibre installed…

    2. Avatar photo Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

      @Ben Openreach have been active in many of the “indicated” areas for months, before any Alt put a spade in the ground locally.

      As for Much Wenlock, large parts of parish areas of Wenlock are already live with FTTP, to which we already serve many. The town itself is being cabled up, along with Bridgnorth, literally right at the moment. I’ve been talking to some of the local lads today outside our offices.

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      just to add – my parents’ area is also supposed to be targeted by a gov sponsored altnet (not this one). This is an area that has had OR FTTP for over a decade, though some cabs, like my parents, were only upgraded to FTTC. They did come back and do FTTP to some very rural properties that are too far from that same cabinet to get a meaningful VDSL service. The OR map says the exchange is on the list for further works.

      On that basis if OR filled in the gaps by tackling areas like my parents road, are they strategically over building an altnet or are they just doing a sensible bit of tidying up? Ultimately everyone’s going to get OR FTTP at some point.

      In my own area, OR were first, then altnet A (using PIA), then cityfibre came along a couple of months ago (own ducting). Do we criticise when altnets copy Openreach’s plans?

    4. Avatar photo Peter Delaney says:

      In the end, most consumers don’t care who builds full fibre to them.

      The frustration is that the deployment details of most ISPs tend to be guarded like state secrets.

      In the end, many householders only get to know something is happening when the wagons turn up.

      The complex, and shifting, delivery landscape – commercial, vouchers, regional procurements etc. only makes it even more difficult to predict what, where and when building will happen.

      So, broad strokes are the thing. This general area within that lengthy timescale. Finding out exactly when, or even if, you are are going to be built to comes much later.

      Other comments here only emphasise why it would be just lovely if you could go to one website that could tell you who was going to build to you (and I mean your actual house, not the postal district) and when. And yes I know this could never happen for any number of reasons but perhaps, in an alternative universe somewhere…

      Personally, I feel if a new company can deliver full fibre services quickly to areas that don’t have it then more power to them for doing so.

      However, I also can’t see how £15 for 250Mbps (well, actually any speed) to such low density areas can be viable either but time will tell I guess.

    5. Avatar photo Nathan M says:

      Peter, bidb.uk does an excellent job of showing who is live or planning to build FTTP to your premise.
      Granted not all providers are on there yet but lots are including the big ones.
      The site also shows you any planned telecoms roadworks in your area which can give an indication of build happening in your area.

  2. Avatar photo Nathan M says:

    As well as Openreach like Mark& Martin mentions Full Fibre Ltd are also planning a build in Much Wenlock https://fibreheroes.co.uk/coverage/fibre-broadband-in-much-wenlock/

    Also checking a couple of random Much Wenlock postcodes shows Gigaclear are also planning a build there.

  3. Avatar photo chrisyyw says:

    Believe it or not there are plenty of places in Telford stuck on FTTC with no access to VM cable.

    Very little seems to be happening…….

    No ALTNet interest in Telford at all yet Shrewsbury seems to have multiple FTTP solutions.

    1. Avatar photo Facts says:

      Exascale have already started building in Telford…

    2. Avatar photo chrissyw says:

      A couple of streets in Hadley yes – which they built years ago.

Comments are closed

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