Cotswolds gigabit broadband service will be 'the envy of all'
More than 6,000 homes and businesses in the Cotswolds are to get access to 1Gbps speeds as the project bringing faster broadband to Gloucestershire moves into its second phase.
Gigaclear will provide some of the hardest-to-reach communities in the county with fibre to the premises broadband.
The gigabit provider was awarded the contract by Gloucestershire County Council as part of phase two of the Fastershire project, which is delivering the government’s broadband rollout in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.
The deal is the first step in reaching beyond the 90% superfast broadband coverage being delivered in phase one of the project.
It means that by the end of 2017, the communities of Guiting Power, Chedworth, Whelford, Bibury and Icomb will be among those with access to gigabit speeds.
Geoffrey Clifton Brown, MP for the Cotswolds, said: “The announcement that 6,495 homes in some of the harder-to-reach areas of the Cotswolds will receive a good broadband service sounds like wonderful news.
“During the election I campaigned on the theme that I would work to deliver a good broadband service for most people in the Cotswolds.
“This announcement looks like it will go a long way to fulfil that pledge.”
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Fastershire was the first national broadband project to develop a plan for reaching the final 10% of homes and businesses with faster broadband.
“Phase two will enable us to provide faster broadband to some of the county's most difficult and isolated areas. We look forward to the opportunities that the improved broadband speeds will bring to the Cotswolds.”
The rollout of gigabit broadband to the Cotswolds will cost £10m, with £7m coming from private investment by Gigaclear and £3m from Fastershire’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP).
It is the first time funds from an SEP have been given to a bidder other than BT anywhere in the country.
Matthew Hare, CEO of Gigaclear, said: “Residents and businesses in the Cotswolds want great broadband.
“We are convinced that as in other rural areas that we already serve, the demand for the pure fibre, ultrafast broadband service that Gigaclear delivers will be substantial.
“What was refreshing about this tender was the identification of the specific addresses of the 6,495 properties that the contract sought to serve.
“This clarity gave us the confidence to offer our Gigabit fibre broadband service to every single property in the tender.”
Mark Aveline, Chedworth's broadband champion, who works to make sure people are aware of the benefits of superfast broadband and to show demand for improved services, said: “This is great news because for four long years rural Cotswolds communities have been waiting for fast broadband.
He said Gigaclear would provide the "best possible solution" of fibre to the homes in the final 10% not served by existing rollouts.
“The new service will be the envy of all and provide a major boost for the rural community," he added.
“Congratulations to Fastershire for the innovative contract which encouraged lateral thinking among suppliers and to Gigaclear for their financial investment and commitment to what will surely be a showcase service.”
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