Gigaclear’s West Berkshire rollout nears completion

Rural broadband provider Gigaclear has reported that it’s gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network rollout in West Berkshire is approaching completion, providing over 14,000 premises with access to the ultrafast network.

The rollout has been undertaken with support from public investment through a partnership with the Superfast Berkshire project. Beginning in 2015, Gigaclear has laid over 700km of fibre across rural West Berkshire, connecting areas that had long been overlooked.

Gigaclear’s Phase 2 deployment in West Berkshire initially targeted rolling out full fibre to around 16,011 premises by October 2017, which was then pushed back to May 2019. Phase 2 remains ongoing, but is due to be completed over the next two months.

Despite the delays, as well as the difficulty and cost of deploying FTTP in a rural area as remote as West Berkshire, the project has continued. Gigaclear is understood to have invested around £16 million in the project, bolstered with public investment of around £3.7 million.

Gigaclear South Central General Manager Laura Jones commented: “With any large-scale engineering project in a rural area, you are bound to encounter challenges but West Berkshire has had more than its fair share, hence why other network providers have overlooked it.”

“With Superfast Berkshire we have also been faced with unique obstacles including crossing the major network rail bridges and the extremely fast and busy M4 motorway. That’s why we invested heavily into this project, with further funding being provided by Building Digital UK (BDUK) and Superfast Berkshire.”

“In fact, for every £1 of government contribution, Gigaclear invests up to £7 of commercial finance in the growth of our network across rural England. The end result is connecting people that would have otherwise been left behind in terms of broadband access, which makes it all worthwhile.”

Howard Woollaston, Executive Portfolio Holder for Internal Governance at West Berkshire Council, said: “This project will make Berkshire one of the best served counties for superfast broadband across the UK. This has put West Berkshire near the top of the league table in terms of Superfast coverage with levels of 96.2 per cent.”

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