Gigaclear Wins BDUK Contract To Bring 1Gbps Broadband To Epping Forest

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Gigaclear gets BDUK funding from Essex County Council to spread fibre to remote areas of Epping Forest

Gigaclear is to provide 4,500 homes and businesses in the Epping Forest with ultrafast 1Gbps broadband after winning Essex County Council’s ‘rural challenge’ and funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative.

This marks the first time any of Essex’s BDUK money has been granted to a provider other than BT and it is intended that the first customers will be connected before Christmas. The project will cost £7.5 million, with Gigaclear stumping up £5.5 million, and is set to be completed by December 2016.

Residents and business owners in the parishes of Fyfield, Stapleford Tawney, Bobbingworth, Ongar, Moreton, Magdalen Laver, High Laver, Little Laver, and Theydon Mount will all definitely benefit, while some properties in 13 others will also be covered.

The Only Way is Essex broadband

TOWIE Boys © Lime Pictures“I am very pleased that Epping Forest has been selected to pilot the rural challenge project in Essex,” said Alan Lion, councillor responsible for technology at Epping Forest District Council. “Faster broadband speeds means that our residents and businesses based in rural areas of the district will benefit from much better connectivity than currently available and will provide a much more reliable internet service.”

Superfast Essex’s rural challenge programme could be extended to connect areas not covered by existing commercial rollouts of superfast broadband or previous BDUK-funded deployments.

In 2013, BT was awarded a £24.6 million contract to connected 87 percent of all premises in the county by the summer of 2016, with all properties able to access speeds of at least 2Mbps.

Superfast Essex is committed to enabling 116,000 premises to receive speeds of more than 24Mbps 2020, in line with national targets of 95 percent coverage by 2017, with trials of alternative broadband technology such as satellite hoping to extend this further.

“The Superfast Essex programme has made tremendous progress in rolling out superfast broadband to rural communities,” said Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey. “I’m delighted to hear that even more people and businesses in Epping Forest will now benefit from this project with Gigaclear as part of our commitment.”

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