Sergey Nivens - Fotolia
Ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband supplier Gigaclear is on the verge of passing its 10,000th property in Oxfordshire when it completes its roll-out to the villages of Warborough and Shillingford, and Shipton-on-Cherwell.
Abingdon-based Gigaclear – which was set up by tech entrepreneur Matthew Hare out of a sense of frustration that he could not access adequate broadband speeds at his home – has already hit 40 villages in the county through its commercial investment.
Its internet service provider (ISP) business provides a 1Gbps standard product and a 5Gbps high-end product, currently the fastest available to consumers in the UK. It claims a take-up rate of around 40% in communities it has passed, compared with just under 17% on Openreach-delivered fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) products, as of August 2015.
“Oxfordshire homes and businesses have dived head first into the information revolution. New ways of working, doing business, learning, communicating and playing are available to more than 10,000 homes and businesses through the Gigaclear ultrafast fibre network. The customer can choose the speed they want and it is as fast to upload a file as it is to download it,” said Hare.
“The FTTP technology means our customers have a broadband infrastructure that will not need updating for the foreseeable future. The county’s homes and businesses on the Gigaclear network benefit from a future-proof, world-class internet connection,” he added.
Outside of its Oxfordshire stomping ground, Gigaclear has passed more than 15,000 homes. It is currently building out its first state aid funded networks under phase two of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), which cover areas of Berkshire, the Cotswolds and Essex.
At the start of 2016, it secured an £18m loan from the European Investment Bank, which it plans to use to part-fund its future roll-out to its next major target of 40,000 homes and businesses.
Read more about rural broadband projects
- Nokia launches a long-term evolution radio service called FastMile, which allows operators to boost mobile broadband services in rural areas.
- A series of pilot schemes proves that small broadband suppliers can effectively compete against BT Openreach in rural areas.
- Scottish Rural Development Programme offers grants to community-led fibre broadband projects around Scotland.
Hare previously said he believes Gigaclear – which only targets the most isolated villages and hamlets and has a policy of never competing directly with BT – could ultimately address the needs of up to 1.5 million premises in the UK.
Broadband campaigner Graham Rose, a resident of Appleton, one of the first networks to be connected by Gigaclear, said the gigabit service had become a vital utility for him.
“Our family often visit and can all be on their devices at the same time and achieve excellent speeds. Similarly, our business friends who visit from the UK and overseas are always envious.
“We are very happy with the service, it provides a long-term, financially sound system to the infuriatingly slow broadband offering we previously had,” he said.