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Customers on Gigaclear waiting list to get satellite broadband

Altnets Gigaclear and SSW agree to collaborate on rural broadband roll-out using satellite services as a stopgap

Ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) supplier Gigaclear has signed a strategic sales and marketing agreement with satellite broadband specialist Satellite Solutions Worldwide (SSW) to offer satellite broadband to customers currently waiting for fibre broadband to reach them.

SSW, which trades in Europe as Europasat, specialises in rural, last-mile and emergency satellite communications. The agreement with Gigaclear will see the two companies work together to identify new communities and properties that are being left out of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) roll-out.

SSW will step in as a stopgap to provide broadband services to communities that Gigaclear has identified as suitable for its FTTP network while they wait for digging to begin. It can currently provide maximum speeds of 22Mbps – below the government’s target speed of 24Mbps but substantially better than what is currently available in many areas.

SSW claims to be the first satellite ISP in Europe to offer what it calls a “fibre guarantee”, a mechanism written into its customer contracts to help users easily cancel their contracts and switch providers when FTTP finally passes their homes.

Meanwhile, Gigaclear will refer potential customers in areas that it does not plan to serve back to SSW, or areas that it has identified as needing faster broadband but has not yet added to its growing pipeline of network builds.

“Any project that enables us to reach more people affected by the digital divide and to give them better options has got to be great news for consumers,” said SSW CEO Andrew Walwyn.

“Our partnership is all about identifying those who lack a superfast broadband solution and getting them connected quickly and cost-effectively.”

Walwyn added: “The UK government has recently identified that up to 245,000 households will end up with 2Mbps broadband or less once the BT-led FTTC roll-out is complete. Working together with Gigaclear, we stand a great chance of providing those affected with a quick and permanent solution to their broadband dilemma.”

Gigaclear currently has a lengthy waiting list for its service – which is capable of providing speeds of up to 1Gbps – and recently won three second-stage BDUK contracts to supply broadband to properties left out of the BT roll-out in Berkshire, Essex and the Cotswolds.

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