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Gigaclear wins contract to deliver ultrafast to 4,500 premises in Essex
Thursday 25 June 2015 12:28:31 by Andrew Ferguson

Some 4,500 premises in the Epping Forest District Council area look set to get FTTH via a £7.5 million project just announced by Essex County Council.

The project is funded by a mixture of money from Gigaclear, UK Government, Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council. The awarding of the contract was approved on Tuesday 23rd June with the official contract signing set to happen on the 29th June.

"We are thrilled to have been selected by Essex County Council to deliver what will be one of the fastest broadband networks in the UK. Once connected, customers on this purely fibre based network will benefit from a transformed Internet, work, communications, entertainment and play experience. Everyone in a household or business can have enough broadband capacity to do online, whatever they want, whenever they want, saving time and reducing frustration."

Matthew Hare, Chief Executive, Gigaclear

If this roll-out goes well then there is an opportunity for extending the project to cover other rural areas of Essex that are not already part of the existing superfast plans. The Gigaclear network will offer their standard range of speeds from 50 Mbps to 1000 Mbps.

Epping Forest District area has fairly good coverage already at around 91 to 93% superfast coverage, but with more work needed to meet the 95% superfast target we will very likely see more interventions like this. Essex County overall has 78.2% of premises with access to superfast broadband at 30 Mbps or faster (82.9% fibre coverage). The county is edging closer to its 87% fibre coverage target adding another 0.5% in the last month.


Posted by SLAMDUNC about 1 year ago
This project was originally aiming to cover about 20K premises to superfast speed. Instead the project is covering 4K at ultrafast.
That's fine - so long as further funding actually arrives for the remainder!
The project is meant to be exploring possible solutions to rural superfast coverage. Plumping for expensive FTTH is not the best method of exploration: to cover the remaining 36K non-superfast rural premises at this rate will cost more than Essex can afford.
Posted by MaryHinge about 1 year ago
£1700 per premise for rural FTTP then.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
1700 for no choice of service provider and have you village dug up and cost you £200.00 to connect
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
Won't this be covered by the Gigaclear Fluidata partnership allowing wholesale, which will be a requirement for state aid?
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
is that actually in place ?
Posted by MaryHinge about 1 year ago
This is not something that Gigaclear can easily offer but it would be interesting to see a price-per-premise comparison for FTTdP / GFAST in a rural setting.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
It's on their website FAQs, states a range of ISPs available available from 2014.
If it wasn't true there would have been a nice adjudication ASA by now.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
end of last sentence a bit garbled by typing to fast, but you get my gist.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago

As opposed to a choice of no service or satellite for some? or have your village dug up for £40,000 - £60,000?

All this should have been done as soon as it was clear BT have no viable rural solution

Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
I'm waiting for Gigaclear's contractors to go back to Aynho and finish off the trenches that cross the main road. At ThE MoMeNt ThEy ArE A BiT RoUgH :)
Posted by rtho782 about 1 year ago
"no choice of service provider", as opposed to BT PLC FTTC being sold to you with 30 different labels on but being the same underlying product.

Much rather have gigaclear thanks.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
circa 90 actually for FTTC
yes Ethernet GETA
Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 year ago
@AndrewC You might need to involve the local authority. Where I live some of the trenches were redone, probably because the ground was not compacted properly before the tarmac was laid.

Gigaclear had to fire the first contractor they used. The 2nd contactor, Wingnut, were much better.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
From what I've read recently, Gigaclear needs to aim at villages of 400+ properties, and don't seek to cover premises outside the core without additional finance.

Will this pattern stick in subsidised areas? Be interesting to see.

Those kinds of numbers suggest they're aiming at the 92-93rd percentile, rather than the sparser 94-95th percentiles (40-100 properties)
Posted by herdwick about 1 year ago
Gigaclear's wholesale platform is not yet operational as I understand it - from 2015 sales discussions. They don't blow fibre or do much on-site fusing / splicing either, don't know how the cost compares of that cf other methods. Long backhaul run is cheaper for sure.

No TV or multicast services on Gigaclear yet either.
Posted by FTTH about 1 year ago
@herdwick - 'They don't blow fibre or do much on-site fusing / splicing either'.... I would disagree, they do plenty. HOWEVER, They do it all day one, once they hit homes passed there is no more splicing though. Just simple patching. BT's FTTP is basically 60-70% of the job, loads of effort/cost still needed before connection.
Posted by mdar5 about 1 year ago
They do not blow fibre because they do no duct the fibre cables - but they do a lot of fusion splicing.
They lay direct in the ground multi-fibre-cored armoured cables leading out from the village cabinet to multiple strategic points round the local network. (typically 96 or 144 fibre count): often a road will have several of these 'splice points' on it.
Then the individual house supply cables radiate out from these fusion splice points again direct in the ground.
The house supply cables go to a network termination pot placed at each house boundary in the network.

Posted by FTTH about 1 year ago
Should have been clearer, I disagreed with the no splicing bit. They don't blow though you are right (except Rutland).
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Great for the customers who get this service but lets face it very few of us will ever benefit from FTTP.
My local community has about 250 slow lines it would probably need about 20 miles of ducting along country lanes to connect us all.
The only viable alternative apart from the dreaded satellite is fixed wireless.
BDUK money would be far better spent of providing booster antenna on a community grant basis, very like the connection voucher scheme.
A network of fixed wireless providers would be only to willing to provide the service. There coverage could overlap to provide completion.
Posted by mervl about 1 year ago
If anybody had any patience, it was always going to be this way: BT (and Virgin) do a "national" project for the majority, with alternative options (eventually) coming along for those harder to reach places. Even, horror of horrors, self-help for an even smaller minority (B4RN and others, with less publicity). The scourge of this country seems to be not East European benefit scroungers, but white middle-class (largely) benefit(in-kind) scroungers, who expect a state subsidy for everything, on the old classic "what do I pay my taxes for (if I don't get them back, with interest)?"
Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 year ago
Most of the Gigaclear cables were I live are ducted where they pass under a road, but not if they cross a field. For my connection there is one spiced (fused) joint at the pot for my house, one just before the cabinet for the cable that plugs into the equipment, and I think two in between. The cable coming to the pot for my house contains two fibres, but only one is used.
Posted by PhilCoates about 1 year ago

Really? Government propaganda promises patients a 'Gold Standard' NHS but don't actually stump up the cash to provide it. I deal with the consequences of this every day.

The BDUK project was big on 'rural' broadband (until it was removed from the documents), we are now dealing with identical consequences to those in the NHS i.e. disappointment and frustration.
Posted by Llety about 1 year ago
@mervl Can we take it you have at least reasonable broadband connectivity? You are a lucky boy.

Your thinking make complete sense if it is taken to the logical conclusion by forcing all current rural dwellers into towns and cities where they will be cheaper to provide services to and learn to live what the market chooses they can have.

I had never thought of myself as white middle-class benefit scroungers before, thanks for the insight.
Posted by herdwick about 1 year ago
Gigaclear use "fibre cable" they lay in the ground, or duct. They don't put in small bore ducts inside bigger ducts and blow fibre through like some others. Connections at the house are pre-terminated lengths of fibre that plug into the kit and into the pot in the ground where the fibre is laid to. Obviously they have to splice the fibres where joints are needed but they don't have to turn out and do a fancy joint to connect an end user, you just plug in a fibre cable.
Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 year ago
@herdwick. There is a spiced joint in the box in located in the pot at the customer's premises. The spice connects the cable to the cabinet to a short cable with an SC/APC connector on the other end. The customer opens the box and plugs his cable into the SC/APC connector. The spice joint is made when the cables and customer pots are installed. The cable to the cabinet is tested in both directions.
Posted by mdar5 about 1 year ago
The Gigaclear SC connector type/colour is a blue (flat surface) UPC type rather than the green (angled) APC type
The types are not interchangeable.

APC's have better back-reflection characteristics at the cost of higher insertion loss due to both manufacturing and assembly tolerance on the angle that the plugs meet at (both longitudinally and rotational)

UPC's do have a lower insertion loss, but this will deteriorate if they are repeatedly mated and de-mated.

I think APC types are used at the higher optical frequencies of cable TV where reflected light is more of an issue.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
there is anincreasing view that I paid my tax so I must have superfast broadband -- (the these are often areas that have not got mains Gas / Drainage or other utilities) there will be always be had places that are hard to service and these will become more visible as coverage increases which need a bespoke look at them its then how the community wants to engage or not and become part of the solution - there are an increasing number doing this and reaping the benefits of it -- but its the community choice at the end of the day
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
There is an increasing view that if I am paying council tax to upgrade areas to a better level than I have, then I expect to be upgraded too, A perfectly reasonable in my opinion.
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
@gerarda - nobody should have less than the average speed.

Why should other areas have a better subsidised bus service than me?
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
if you no service you should be asked to pay for improving theirs
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
I meant to say "if you have no service you should not be asked to pay improving those areas that already have one"
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
When were you asked to pay for any specific council project?
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
we are paying for the BDUK projects
Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 year ago
@mdar5. Thank you for the correction.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
those projects are 3 ways funded although most tend to forget/ignore that so funding is £X from BDUK £x from local authority and £Y funding from Operator
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
@gerarda - 'we' are paying for lots of things we see no benefit for.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
you are deliberately missing the point I suspect. Having to pay for HS2 when we have a shitty rail service in this part of the country also causes similar resentment but at least the Govt doesnt expect us to use rail to access their services nor do our kids need rail to do their homework.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
Gerada assuming you on the main line north of Ipswich id rather have your rail service than mine -- FYI HS2 will rlease capacity for Freight on West Coast main line which means freight will go vial ely rather than Ipswich -- that one of the key plays in Norwich in 90
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