Gigaclear digs under River Severn to extend network in Gloucestershire
Gigaclear is claiming a broadband first, i.e. the first fibre cable to go under the River Severn crossing near Minsterworth and linking up with Elmore Back using 6.5km of fibre.
The fibre will be used to serve premises in an area that has the River Severn on one side and a shipping canal creating its own small island. Crossing under the Severn meant using a horizontal directional drill some 5 metres under the actual riverbed, crossing the canal was ruled out because of the depth of the stabilisation involved in the sides of the canal.
The fibre should mean some 861 homes in the area will be able to order a connection once the fibre network has been extended and the fibre pots installed on the edges of the properties.
As a business based within rural Gloucestershire, we are delighted to be working alongside Gigaclear to deliver ultrafast broadband to Longney and Framilode. This unique project gives us the opportunity to demonstrate the latest methodologies and see the positive impact it has on communities that have previously been avoided due to engineering difficulties.Caine Edwards, Programme Manager at Complete Utilities
This is not the first foray in the area by the FasterShire project which is the BDUK programme for Herefordshire and Gloucestershire as back in 2016 there VDSL2 cabinets went live, Hardwick cab 35 and Saul cabs 1 and 3. It appears that the on its way messaging on the Gigaclear website does vary depending on what services are already available, so we think that some of the roll-out in the area will be commercially funded and only those with below superfast speeds will utilise gap funding from the Fastershire project.
We presume that Openreach did not have to cross the River Severn but used existing ducts and poles to get its handful of fibres to each of the VDSL2 cabinets. Those fibres themselves obviously could not be used for the Gigaclear FTTP roll-out but we presume PIA duct/pole sharing was ruled out or was less economic compared to the fibre route chosen e.g. extra distance involved in using old Openreach routes.