Rural-centric fibre ISP Gigaclear has secured funding which will speed-up the rollout of its ultrafast networks.
The company has trousered £20 million from Prudential and a further £10 million from Woodford Investment Management, which will be spent on accelerating deployment of FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connections to rural pockets of the UK.
Typically found on the wrong side of the superfast divide, scattered rural communities have had to put up with dial-up-style speeds, unsure if the regional BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) projects would reach out to them.
Previously, Gigaclear had considered raising funds to facilitate a more aggressive rollout of services by selling shares publically for the first time, but the company instead opted to remain private, seeking funds from new investors and those with whom they have worked before.
Gigaclear’s chief executive Matthew Hare, said: “The divide between cut-off rural communities and connected towns and cities has never been greater, and we see Prudential and Woodford’s investments as a strong endorsement of our business plan to become the largest rural FTTP provider in the UK, bridging that divide by building ultrafast, pure fibre networks.
“These investments give us the resources needed to accelerate our roll out over the next 24 months to many more communities.”
The ISP already operates 23 rural networks across the country, offering users speeds of up to 1Gbps, 55 times faster than the national average, with a view to reaching around 1.5 million more premises in the not too distant future.
Gigaclear’s ambitions have been challenged in the past by BT, the sole beneficiary of the UK Government’s BDUK contracts. By 2017, 95 per cent of UK premises should be able to order a superfast broadband service (25Mbps or faster) via BT’s Openreach network.
Virgin Media is also experimenting with a new deployment method which could see it deliver gigabit broadband services to more parts of the country – although its recently-announced Project Lightning programme is mainly focussed on consolidating its suburban footprint.
This £3 billion plan will see Virgin Media’s network expand to cover 16 million premises by 2020.