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Rural Berkshire homes to get 1Gbps fibre broadband

Monday, July 6th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Rural parts of Berkshire will have access to 1Gbps broadband as part of the second phase of the county’s superfast rollout.

More than 11,700 homes and businesses in West Berkshire will be connected directly to Superfast Berkshire’s fibre network – bypassing BT’s copper wires.

Gigaclear will use the technology, known as fibre to the premises (FTTP), to bring speeds of up to 1,000Mbps to the hardest-to-reach areas of Berkshire.

A combination of commercial broadband rollouts and the first phase of Superfast Berkshire, which is being delivered by BT, will cover 91% of the county.

The second phase, which is expected to be completed by summer 2017, will take superfast coverage above 99%.

Roger Croft, West Berkshire Council’s cabinet member for ICT, said: “Broadband is vital to the rural economy as well as rural residents' quality of life.

“I am looking forward to working with Gigaclear to bring West Berkshire residents, rural schools and businesses the broadband service that people need and want in today’s world.”

Funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), West Berkshire District Council and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership of around £3.7m and a contribution of £16m from Gigaclear will provide a total investment fund of almost £20m.

Gigaclear CEO Matthew Hare said: “Our focus is entirely on providing the best and most reliable broadband service in the country to rural areas around the UK.

“We have worked hard alongside the Berkshire Superfast team to reach this milestone for West Berkshire.”

'Minimum disruption'

While Gigaclear will connect rural properties using FTTP, an additional 1,750 premises in Windsor and Maidenhead will get access to superfast speeds via a different technology.

Call Flow Solutions is to upgrade 11 cabinets in the Windsor, Wraysbury, Burchett’s Green and Horton areas using a fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) solution, with each home and business connected to the cabinet by copper wires.

BDUK, The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership are contributing £415,000 towards the project, with an additional £120,000 coming from Call Flow.

Planning will start in July and delivery of the rollout is expected to be completed by mid-2016.

Andy Conibere, managing director of Call Flow, said: “We are delighted to be chosen to bring FTTC to 11 new cabinets in Windsor & Maidenhead.

“Working in such an urban environment, our aim is to deliver superfast broadband, whilst causing minimum civil engineering disruption and in the shortest possible time."

Cllr Phill Bicknell, deputy cabinet chairman for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, said: “I am really excited about this partnership with Call Flow Solutions and other neighbouring councils and look forward to seeing how it can transform technology in Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.”

Digital minister Ed Vaizey added: “These contracts with Gigaclear and Call Flow Solutions are a fantastic result for the extra 13,450 Berkshire homes and businesses that will now get superfast broadband as a result of our rollout.

“Our nationwide rollout is now reaching 40,000 more premises every week and by 2017, 95% of the UK will have access to superfast speeds, providing a tremendous boost to local economies across the UK.”

Last week, Cable.co.uk reported that Gigaclear had been awarded a contract to deliver a pure fibre network across the north east of Epping Forest District in Essex, allowing more than 4,500 homes and businesses to access ‘ultrafast’ broadband speeds.

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