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Gigaclear Home 50 unlimited broadband review

Thursday, November 5th 2015

Living in one of Britain’s idyllic hamlets away from the hustle and bustle of the city is a life-long dream for many. However, reliable internet access is often an impossibility in these locations. If you are looking for rural broadband solutions, Gigaclear, with its aim of providing fast fibre broadband to the UK’s currently isolated communities, may be worth serious consideration.

A prerequisite of being supplied with Gigaclear is that your community must be within 3km of a pre-existing fibre infrastructure. It must also consist of more than 400 properties. If these criteria are met, Gigaclear may be available. The Gigaclear Home 50 unlimited broadband package is the cheapest option from the provider. Here’s everything you need to know.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
3.8

Rural broadband is often expensive and unsatisfying – but it doesn’t have to be. Gigaclear’s up to 50Mbps broadband is fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), and benefits from unlimited usage. There’s no line rental and VoIP phone plans are optional. Installation can be a hurdle, but once surmounted Gigaclear becomes an ideal rural broadband solution.

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Speed & usage

Rating

5

All Gigaclear speeds are symmetric. The advertised speed – in this case, up to 50Mbps – applies to both downloading and uploading. It takes the same amount of time to transfer a file off the internet as it does to share the same file to others on the web. This parallel speed is due to the way Gigaclear is channelled to your property. A fibre-to-the-premises connection involves the extension of the fibre optic network right into your house, so there’s no ‘last mile’ of copper cable, as there is with most providers.

The identical upload and download rate of up to 50Mbps puts Gigaclear leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, even against providers who supply their own infrastructure, such as Virgin Media. The up to 50Mbps rate is perfect for the majority of online activities, but if you need a temporary boost, you can upgrade your connection to 1000Mbps for 48 hours with a one-off payment of £5.

This package comes on a 15-month plan. However, there is a flexible option available for tenants – the Tenant Home 50 Unlimited package. Everything is the same as the Home 50 Unlimited broadband package, however the contract lasts six months and is slightly pricier at £41.95 per month.

All Gigaclear plans are unlimited with no traffic management or fair usage policies in place.

Advertised download speed Up to 50Mbps
Average downloads (off-peak) N/A
Average downloads (peak) N/A
Advertised upload speed Up to 50Mbps
Monthly usage limit No
Traffic management No
Static IP Yes
Minimum contract 15 months
Router Gigabit fibre router
Public wi-fi No
Prices from £39.90 per month
Info

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What you can do with it

Advertised

Actual

‘Actual’ speeds for Gigaclear are not available from Ofcom.

Call plan

Rating

4

Gigaclear doesn’t supply its own phone system. Instead, it relies on Vonage: a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. This means that all Gigaclear phone plans are optional. You don’t have to pay line rental either – even if you do take a Vonage plan.

There are several options for Vonage plans with Gigaclear. The cheapest, at £8 per month, provides unlimited calls to UK landlines at any time. The premium plan, at £15 per month, gives you unlimited calls to UK landlines and mobiles. There’s also the option for unlimited calls to international destinations – ideal if you have relatives living abroad.

Setting up Vonage is easy. All you need to do is connect your Vonage box to your broadband router, and then plug your landline phone into the Vonage box. Your home phone will then operate as normal.

Extras

Rating

2

Gigaclear’s entry-level package is a little light on extras. For many, this won’t be an issue. If you’ve been struggling to get online for years, just being able to access the web whenever you wish will mean more than any bonus features.

Parental control software can be added to your Gigaclear package. This will give you the ability to block certain sites and set safety levels for obtainable content, helping you to keep your kids safe when they’re left alone to browse the web.

Gigaclear customers also get a fibre router for no additional charge. The Gigaclear router features four 1000Mbps Ethernet ports along with wireless on the 802.11n band for strong wi-fi connections. Delivery of the router is included with the basic installation kit.

Those living in areas covered by Gigaclear generally don’t have many options for broadband access, and many have no way of getting online at all. In this case, value for money speaks for itself. Compared to other rural broadband options, such as satellite broadband, which can cost hundreds of pounds, Gigaclear is a cheap, reliable way to get online.

The Home 50 unlimited broadband package costs £39.90 per month. This is more expensive than the majority of traditional broadband packages from mainstream providers. However, the availability in rural areas and the high symmetric download and upload speeds far outweigh the negative of the higher price.

Installation can be expensive. The standard fee for installation with Gigaclear is £100. This is the DIY option, and includes the installation kit and equipment. You can call out Boxcom, Gigaclear’s approved installers, for help with set-up. This costs an extra £95, but can end up even more, depending on the extent of work involved to get your property connected.

Broadband through Gigaclear is supplied via the fibre-to-the-home infrastructure. While providing faster broadband speeds, this involves significantly more work during installation than connection using a standard provider.

Gigaclear supplies a connection and installation kit when you sign up. This costs £100, and includes the router, fibre connection cable (up to 50 meters) and ancillaries. Once you have the kit, you can either self-install, contact a local electrician, or order installation from Gigaclear’s approved installers, Boxcom.

Boxcom’s engineers may have to dig up lawns, flowerbeds and driveways in order to lay the cable for the FTTH connection. The amount of work involved will depend on the type of property being connected and the distance to the roadside. If your property is a listed building, or if you’re renting, you may need permission before going ahead with installation.

The Gigaclear router has four 1000Mbps Ethernet ports for wired connections to your computers. wi-fi connections, such as your smartphone or tablet, can take advantage of the up to 150Mbps transfer rate supplied by the wireless-N system.

Gigaclear Router

Overall Rating

3.8

Broadband for rural areas is often expensive, unwieldy, and just a whole lot of hassle. Gigaclear changes that, with affordable broadband packages that rely on the FTTH infrastructure to provide download and upload speeds to make most mainstream providers blush with embarrassment. However, availability is strictly limited, and you can’t just sign up. Instead, you and your community need to meet the criteria and register interest on Gigaclear’s website before any progress can be made.

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