Gigaclear deployment timescales change in Essex

Gigaclear’s full fibre broadband rollout across Essex is now forecast to complete later than previously anticipated primarily due to the complexity of the network build coupled with resourcing challenges resulting from Gigaclear’s rapid growth.

Work under Phase 3 of the Superfast Essex broadband programme in Uttlesford District and parts of Braintree District and Colchester Borough and Phase 4a which is due to extend the existing coverage in Epping Forest District is now due to complete by July 2020, rather than December 2019.

The new timescales for Phase 3 of the programme, co-ordinated by Essex County Council, have been updated on our website and interactive map. The Phase 4a cabinet areas and the addresses which will be served by them are being finalised in preparation for work to start and will be added to the website with build dates once confirmed in early 2019.

Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “I am extremely disappointed Gigaclear’s delivery timescales have changed but understand this entirely new full fibre network build to rural areas is a complex task and brings with it a higher number of factors which impact on how swiftly the work can take place. Gigaclear is also growing at a rapid pace and there has been a lag in scaling its business processes, resulting in some network rollouts taking longer than anticipated.

“However we understand Gigaclear has recognised this and is already doubling the size of its team in Essex to ensure planning processes and the network build are able to happen at a faster pace. I am confident that Gigaclear remains fully committed to the Essex fibre network rollout. The new timescales are robust and will be closely monitored.

“We fully accept communities will be disappointed at the change in delivery dates however Superfast Essex is confident the inconvenience of this delay will be outweighed by the satisfaction that the quality of the new fibre network will provide when it arrives, and the fact that the ultrafast network will be future proofed for years to come.”

Mike Surrey, Chief Executive, Gigaclear, said: “On behalf of Gigaclear plc, I would like to apologise for the delays in delivering this full fibre network. With new ownership and a new management team in place, we have reviewed this project in detail, identified where problems have occurred, and put in place remedies to prevent them happening again including increasing the size of the delivery team in Essex. We would like to assure all residents and businesses in our coverage area that we will be bringing them ultrafast full fibre broadband as soon as we can now.”

Under Phase 3 it has taken Gigaclear longer than expected to complete and then validate the overall network design ready for the build to start, but work is underway and progressing now, with the first three cabinet areas in Uttlesford and Braintree being built. These are Uttlesford: Birchanger, Stansted Mountfitchet and Gaunts End; and Braintree: Cornish Hall End, Great Saling and Ridgewell.

Some of the factors impacting on the pace of the network include negotiating permissions with third parties to physically dig up roads and lay new fibre cables and agreeing local road closures.

Gigaclear has recognised the need to commit more resource to the project and is doubling the size of its Essex team, including the addition of a dedicated local community liaison officer, and is also establishing an Essex-based office.