Businesses and residents of the Thames valley may soon have access to a 1Gbps broadband network, following Ofcom's decision to grant fibre provider Gigaclear powers to dig up roads and other public assets to lay fibre.
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Ofcom says Gigaclear plans to build a network to provide 1Gbps access to homes, businesses and organisations and the associated short haul and long haul connections required to interconnect with other networks and systems.
"Gigaclear intends to mainly use fibre and their own ducts but also anticipate that they may use other technologies and duct, pole and passive infrastructure from other suppliers," Ofcom said.
It also promises to share equipment, and co-operate with other utilities and local government as to how best to share their apparatus. It would also resell capacity to third parties.
The network operator plans to start operations in the Thames Valley in 2011 and to expand to cover a large number of villages and small towns in commuter belts across the UK, it says.
Ofcom says that Gigaclear's fibre network will provide each home or business with a 1Gbps internet connection from launch. This would enable access to a full range of voice, video and data services from third party providers.
"Ofcom considers that the network is likely to increase competition in the provision of broadband services. Ofcom therefore considers that the network will benefit the public," it said.
Giving Gigaclear the same code powers to access streets and private land held by its competitors means it would be better placed to deploy and maintain its broadband network, Ofcom said.