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Rural fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband services provider Gigaclear has formally acquired the assets of Bucks-based altnet Aylesbury Vale Broadband (AVB), after a sale of the controversial council-backed business was agreed in November 2017.
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Established in 2015, AVB was backed by Aylesbury Vale District Council, which owned 95% of the business and provided a substantial commercial loan to get it up and running. Its network now covers around 300 properties with a 1Gbps FTTP service.
However, the majority Conservative council’s involvement was a source of local disquiet due to possible conflicts of interest, and in December 2017, it agreed to an independent inquiry.
Liberal Democrat councillor Anders Christensen said: “It was a conflict of interest that we decided to invest in a broadband company that only provided services to a small number of villages, that happened to be in one county division: that was the county division of the cabinet member that promoted the scheme”
To this end, Gigaclear has bought only AVB’s assets, as opposed to the company itself, and will soon invite existing customers to migrate onto its network. It will use AVB’s infrastructure as a jumping-off point to expand its own services in the area.
“We’re delighted to take over the infrastructure that AVB has laid to enable the local Aylesbury Vale residents to access future proofed technology,” said Gigaclear COO Brett Shepherd.
“Our intention is to make this process as seamless as possible for existing customers, as well as expand our offering so more of the local community can connect to our network quickly and experience the very best broadband technology.”
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Janet Blake, AVB board member and Aylesbury Vale District Council councillor, added: “We are extremely proud of everything AVB has achieved. When we started the company with local resident Andrew Mills, our primary aim was to bring high speed broadband to rural parts of Aylesbury Vale that, otherwise, had little likelihood of being connected.”
“We now have one of the most advanced broadband infrastructures of any rural district in the UK. Having stimulated the market, the time is right to pass the reins on to a company with the resources to grow the network and benefit many more residents and businesses,” she said.
“Like us, Gigaclear wants to provide a great service and we’re confident they will build on the great foundations we’ve laid.”