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Around 70,000 additional properties across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will receive a gigabit fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband service by the end of the decade under the auspices of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) Fastershire programme.
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Rural FTTP specialist Gigaclear – which has responsibility for Phase 2 of the Fastershire BDUK build – will extend services across 173 cabinets over the two counties after awarding a £90m contract to Complete Utilities to help speed up proceedings using a network construction technique known as narrow trenching.
Narrow trenching is a much faster way of digging and building fibre broadband networks. It uses specialist equipment to cut a much smaller trench compared to what would usually be seen – around 10cm versus 40cm – which means engineers can cover more ground with less disruption and at less cost.
“As a business based in rural Gloucestershire, we take great pride in playing such a key role in the delivery of a completely new broadband network in the area,” said Complete Utilities managing director Steve Chaplin.
“We’re also really pleased to have an opportunity to demonstrate the positive impact that the latest methodologies will have on the future of network delivery in the UK. Combined with our rapid reinstatement process, we’ll be able to work more quickly, reduce waste and cut costs, resulting in a win-win for local communities, local authorities and our commercial partners.”
For the Fastershire dig, Complete Utilities will take charge of laying multi-way ducts to connect homes and businesses to the Gigaclear network. When customers request a connection, cables can simply be blown through the new duct to their property.
“Having successfully worked with Complete Utilities in Fastershire over the past two years, we’re delighted to be strengthening and extending our partnership with them,” said Gigaclear chief operating officer Brett Shepherd.
“The innovative construction methods they have proposed will put us at the forefront of the industry, enabling us to deliver our broadband network more efficiently and with minimal disruption to local communities. We’re looking forward to working together to bring thousands of properties in rural Herefordshire and Gloucestershire into the 21st century.”