Gigaclear plans to speed up rollout of rural fibre broadband networks – thanks to an extra £24 million in investment.
The plucky fibre provider already has set up 60 rural fibre networks throughout the UK, from Oxfordshire parishes to prep schools, and is now gunning to connect 1.5m customers – a step up from its earlier target of 200,000.
The cash was raised by current shareholders of the plucky fibre provider and follows on from Gigaclear securing a loan of €25m (£20m) from the EU’s European Investment Bank fund in January.
Since May 2015, when Gigaclear netted £30m from investors, the company had just 23 networks offering download speeds of up to 1Gbps via FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connections. This gives us some idea of the pace that Gigaclear’s already working at.
Chief executive Matthew Hare said that he expects ‘tens of thousands’ of new customers to be able to sign up for Gigaclear’s wares this year. Gigaclear’s growth has also been helped in part by winning BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) contracts to connect remote communities in Hertfordshire, Berkshire and the Cotswolds to gigabit fibre broadband.
Ed Clarke, co-founder and director of Infracapital, the company which helped lead the latest round of investment said: “We are delighted to continue our support for Gigaclear as it accelerates its growth rate and strengthens its presence in the market.
“Having successfully secured several BDUK contracts and completed this round of fundraising the business is well placed to deliver its 2016 roll out plans.”
Gigaclear’s entry level service costs £39.90/month and gives customers download and upload speeds of 50Mbps, with unlimited usage included as standard. Subscribers who have a serious need for speed can sign up for a symmetrical gigabit service, although this will set you back a hefty £74/month.
While most homes won’t need that kind of bandwidth today, it’s reassuring to know that Gigaclear’s network can comfortably provide this in the future. Appearing to defy all logic, the company is currently trialling a 5Gbps service, presumably for people who’ve got some cutting edge routers and Cat 5 wiring at home to go with those deep, deep pockets.