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Kent rural fibre broadband project hopes to dig 1Gbps with Gigaclear

A Gigaclear fibre broadband network capable of providing speeds of up to 1Gbps is on the verge of being greenlighted for communities in Kent. 

The Ultrafast Underriver project was set up to bring faster speeds to areas where most people make do with 1Mbps and lower, making streaming movies and downloading podcasts impossible.

Speaking to project leader Mike Clyne, we were told that there’s a very healthy demand for faster speeds.

Read Recombu Digital’s What is Gigaclear? feature

Gigaclear requires there to be sufficient local demand for its services before it starts digging and requires ‘expressions of interest’ to be registered within a three month period. Residents of Underriver and the surrounding areas maxed out the demand quota within eight weeks.

Gigaclear is now taking orders for its services and once 190 orders have been placed it’ll get on with the digging. If all goes to plan, it’s hoped that work can commence in July and have everyone connected by the end of September-October. Mike Clyne told us that he’d first approached Gigaclear back in September 2012, so there’s a possibility that the first leg of the project could be finished within just 13 months.

There are plans to connect other communities in the area once the first phase is complete. As you can see from the screengrab taken from Gigaclear’s site, the first phase follows a rough ‘h’ shape and connects Godden Green, Underriver, Bitchet Green, Stone Street, Ivy Hatch, Shipbourne and part of Seal.

The second leg would connect premises in Ightham, Plaxtol and Dunk’s Green, to the east of the first phase rollout.

There’s still some discussion as to exactly how the rollout will happen, but Clyne told us that he’s been getting calls “every day or every other day” from farmers and landowners getting in touch to give permission to lay fibre across their land.



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