Broadband News

Devon and Somerset scrap five Gigaclear contracts

Everyone knew that the Connecting Devon and Somerset contracts with Gigaclear (five lots) were in trouble and various delays have been documented over the last year or two and we did not know when we published our earlier Gigaclear news item that the council was about to announce what it has, i.e. all five contracts are cancelled.

So what is the news for those who were in scope for one of the Gigaclear contracts, well it appears a new round of procurement is underway and this will be the third attempt for some of these areas, i.e. talks with BT failed what feels like many years ago now and the Gigaclear contracts have effectively got nowhere. Alas a new procurement given the various rules involved mean nothing is likely to be built until at least January 2021 assuming that someone bids for the work.

The cancellation hinges on the council and Gigaclear not being able to reach an agreement on a recovery plan to get things back on track after all the delays in 2018.

Given the focus on full fibre any new contracts will be full fibre based, but in the short term there is some extension work on the way via BT that may help some, though we had expected this to be outside the old planned Gigaclear areas. 

For those who need something better than what they have today there is the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme which is worth up to £350 towards installing fixed wireless, 4G or a satellite broadband solution. This scheme is due to end at the end of 2019.

Another route that may offer some hope is the Community Challenge Fund which helps communities to club together and get a community wide solution rolled out, details on what went on with the pilot scheme is on the council news pages.

Our maps and checkers has some of the CDS Gigaclear roll-out marked as live in the Blackdown Hills area, but some of this was actually still in build, so will in the next take time to go through the whole area and check which bits are actually live and thus should continue to operate and those where it is now wait a see.

The message for areas that were in the plan and have now been dropped that Gigaclear is showing is as follows: "Following ongoing discussions with our partners at Connecting Devon and Somerset, CDS have decided to terminate the contract with Gigaclear to deliver full fibre, ultrafast broadband to residents in the area with subsidy from Building Digital UK (BDUK). Gigaclear have been working hard to agree a revised plan to help deliver this vital service. We are disappointed for all parties that we are now unable to progress. We are now considering our future plans in the region and will update you and your community accordingly."

Update 9:15am 13th September: Broadband maps and checker have been reviewed and updated for Gigaclear in the Blackdown Hills area.

Comments

Always a strong possibility, CDS were asking for a lot of full fibre coverage for a little cash and wanted it done quickly, which was why BT pulled out from the Phase 2 tender. Now they have very little to show for the past 18 months to 2 years and people will have to wait even longer to see improvements. BT may not have offered the quickest, cheapest, most FTTP but they have delivered what was agreed and look at FTTP % in Cornwall, Wales and NI. Back to the old you get what you pay for.

  • jumpmum
  • about 1 month ago

What would be interesting analysis from Andrew would be a lot by lot breakdown, as clearly there are now a lot of part built infrastructure in parts of Devon & Somerset.

CDS say by end of June only 496 properties completed, against the contract target of 28689. 365 of these are in North Somerset.

Clearly Gigaclear is live in a lot of areas around where Truespeed are also active - how much of this Gigaclear build was in response to that competition?

The Blackdown Hills area was part of their Commercial build prior to CDS awarding them contracts.

What will happen to those stranded assets?

  • Technological
  • about 1 month ago

https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/broadband-map#11/51.2206/-2.7002/gigaclear/truespeed/

Current situation, though Gigaclear might shrink some more as footprint in North Somerset gets a second round of checking later today.

Figuring out where part built infrastructure is would be very expensive time wise, i.e. needs visits to every road in the area and checking what is in ground too.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

Andrew, didn’t mean for you to have to get your boots on! The incomplete stuff will get finished or abandoned / sold in due course.

More what was meant was out of each contract lot how many premises were delivered v the contract target?

What the lab doesn’t show (I think) is actual numbers. CDS say only 496 delivered, but if you estimated say 3000 live then there has been a focus on their commercial build rather than the BDUK project.

  • Technological
  • about 1 month ago

Will be getting a Gigaclear effigy now?

But yeah, this seems to show that they've hit the brick wall of reality. Laying and lighting fibre costs money. BT gave a price and a coverage CDS didn't like. Gigaclear popped in a cheaper/better bid. Now it turns out they can't do what they promised.

You get what you pay for.

  • AndrueC
  • about 1 month ago

Can in theory filter the database to only show Gigaclear, but its a non-standard query to limit the counting to specific ISP in a specific area. Will keep it in mind once happy I've finished triple checking what is flagged as live in area.

Did find some more Gigaclear in Gloucestershire today, so its what circumstances have led to CDS seeing extremely slow build compared to others where its not mega quick but things are happening.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

Going back to 2016, CDS wanted an outside in build, leading to a slow build as you have to plan everything to know how to build the outside efficiently and then build a lot of infrastructure before you get to the farthest sites to start delivering end users. End result, very lower numbers delivered over the two years BUT likely to be the hardest to reach.

The turned down Inside out proposal from BT would have got CDS another 5% and reached some hard to reach sites. Doing a set of whole (but smallish) area would have been the way to go BUT very divisive to others. Now no-one is pleased

  • jumpmum
  • about 1 month ago

I did notice that there seemed to be some activity around the Gigaclear main cabinet on the A370 at Lympsham yesterday, so they may be intending to self fund parts of their network where it makes commercial sense to carry on. I also noticed an Openreach van parked next to the cabinet, which was open, earlier in the same afternoon.

  • pj66300
  • about 1 month ago

# Resources transferred from vain-glorious projects such as HSn and the Irish Sea Bridge.
# Board members and management to be experts in their fields of Technology, Finance etc, dedicated to running the utility in the interests of the country's economy and not either their bank-balances or future-privatization.

  • J_Kafka
  • about 1 month ago

Part 1

Seriously fast connexion is a vital priority for the future of the whole of the UK whatever flavour of BrExit or Remain we have.
Hamstrung by Thatcher's policies and practices of Private is God-like, we see again and again our utilities sacrificed to Profit before People. Or in so many cases since OUR utilities are now owned off-shore - Their Profits before OUR Country.
# Real, not Morrisonian, Nationalization of the Broadband system is needed immediately.

  • J_Kafka
  • about 1 month ago

Part 2

# Resources transferred from vain-glorious projects such as HSn and the Irish Sea Bridge.
# Board members and management to be experts in their fields of Technology, Finance etc, dedicated to running the utility in the interests of the country's economy and not either their bank-balances or future-privatization.

  • J_Kafka
  • about 1 month ago

So very disappointing!
We were supposed to have been connected at postcode EX7,in Devon,near Dawlish,during the first and second quarter of 2019 ! Gigaclear never even started work.
We have just had VDSL coneected to a new build estate of 35 dwellings just yards away but it is not BT/Government (central and local) policy to allow us to connect to this VDSL connection.

ECONOMIC MADNESS WITH TAXPAYERS SUBSIDIES!

23-september-2019.

  • michael-scott
  • 27 days ago

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