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.