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Ultrafast rural fibre provider retreats in face of Wiltshire Council’s slower speeds

Wiltshire Council’s decision to roll out fibre-based broadband in rural areas has prompted Gigaclear, a provider of faster gigabit fibre broadband, to pull out. 

Gigaclear aimed to connect communities in the Dun Valley and the Tytherleys to FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) which would provide faster speeds than the mixture of FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and FTTP connections being installed by BT, as part of the Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire council’s superfast broadband project. 

BT’s FTTC and FTTP connections currently provide speeds of up to 80Mbps and 330Mbps respectively, but Gigaclear’s fibre provides top speeds of up to 1Gbps. 

Ultrafast rural fibre provider retreats in face of Wiltshire Council’s slower speeds
Winterslower: Gigaclear’s departure sees possibility of 1Gbps both ways diminishing

BT is currently trialing new technology – vectoring and G.fast – which could increase the top speeds available on FTTC lines and other tests have shown that BT’s FTTP can provide customers with download speeds of up to 10Gbps

Its unlikely that most customers under the superfast broadband plan will get FTTP from BT – most are in line to get FTTC, with an option to eventually upgrade these connections to FTTP in the future under the FTTP on Demand programme – something which at the moment is expensive and only available to business customers in a handful of areas. 

Following an announcement that areas including Pitton, Farley, East and West Grimstead and Winterslow were to benefit from Wiltshire Council’s publicly-funded project, Gigaclear has declared that its own project is no longer viable in the face of such competition. 

Gigaclear’s business model is based on bringing FTTP broadband to rural communities that aren’t supplied with high speed broadband by the likes of BT or Virgin Media or won’t be for the foreseeable future. 

Prior to beginning the Dun Valley and Tytherleys project, Gigaclear says that it had given Wiltshire Council plenty of information about where it intended to build ahead of its announcement to effectively build over the areas Gigaclear had earmarked. Wiltshire Council has yet to respond to Gigaclear’s claims. 

A similar situation developed in Lancashire, where the local authority’s superfast project locked horns with the ambitions of B4RN. Like Gigaclear, B4RN aims to connect rural communities across the region to FTTP broadband providing top download and upload speeds of 1Gbps. 

Image: Jeremy Atkinson/Flickr

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