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Gigaclear to roll out FTTP in rural Northamptonshire

Alternative operator Gigaclear has picked up another broadband project under the government’s Superfast Broadband Programme, this time in the county of Northamptonshire.

Following a competitive procurement process, Northamptonshire County Council has signed two contracts with Gigaclear to deliver Stage Three of their project, which will concentrate on extending broadband infrastructure into rural areas.

Under the contract, about 6,330 premises will be connected with fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure from Gigaclear, offering download speeds of up to one gigabit.

A total of £6.58 million in public money is being invested in Stage Three: £4.9 million from the county council and £1.68 million from the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of its Superfast Broadband Programme. Gigaclear will also be investing £3.65 million in the county.

Cllr Ian Morris, whose county council cabinet portfolio covers the Superfast Northamptonshire project, said: “I’m delighted that we’re going to be working with Gigaclear on Stage Three of our Superfast Northamptonshire project, which will focus on those hardest to reach rural areas, which are the most difficult to serve with infrastructure.

The Superfast Northamptonshire project is the third authority nationally to launch its Stage Three proposals, which invited bids from telecoms suppliers to plan, design, build, operate and maintain broadband networks capable of supporting download speeds of more than 30Mbps.

In Stage One and Two of the Superfast Broadband Programme, local authorities aim to expand superfast broadband coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by the end of 2017. Stage Three will address those in the final five per cent.

The majority of contracts awarded under the first two phases of the programme – including those in Northamptonshire – went to BT, which became the only supplier available through in the procurement framework used by most local authorities.

Gigaclear started to win projects in the second phase, as local authorities decided to look outside the procurement framework. It won Stage Two projects in Essex, Gloucestershire and West Berkshire (see Gigaclear celebrates tio of wins under BDUK broadband scheme).

With local authorities looking to connect the “hardest to reach” areas in Stage Three, Gigaclear’s business model is attracting more interest. The operator also has the backing of the European Investment Bank (see Gigaclear rural broadband plan gets €25M EIB support).

“The fact that Gigaclear is winning more and more contracts like this one is a huge step in the right direction in the campaign for pure fibre, as we continue to connect thousands of people to speeds of up to one gigabit,” commented Joe Frost, business development director at Gigaclear.

“We are excited to work in partnership with the Superfast Northamptonshire team. This, together with our current and planned commercial coverage, will mean that we expect to be delivering ultrafast to more than 25,000 residents and business premises in rural Northamptonshire,” he added.

Gigaclear’s FTTP roll out in Northamptonshire is expected to be complete by December 2018.

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