In partnership with Superfast Berkshire, Gigaclear has been building its full fibre to the property (FTTP) network in West Berkshire since 2015. In that time, more than 700km (435 miles) of fibre have been laid across rural West Berkshire, to connect properties that have been historically overlooked and underserved by other network providers.

Laura Jones, South Central General Manager at Gigaclear, comments: “With any large-scale engineering project in a rural area, you are bound to encounter challenges but West Berkshire has had more than its fair share, hence why other network providers have overlooked it.

“On all our connection projects, we work closely with landowners to gain permission to operate on their land, and we always make sure we do so at times that suit them. With Superfast Berkshire we have also been faced with unique obstacles including crossing the major network rail bridges and the extremely fast and busy M4 motorway. That’s why we invested heavily into this project, with further funding being provided by Building Digital UK (BDUK) and Superfast Berkshire. In fact, for every £1 of government contribution, Gigaclear invests up to £7 of commercial finance in the growth of our network across rural England.

“The end result is connecting people that would have otherwise been left behind in terms of broadband access, which makes it all worthwhile. The new network means it will take Gigaclear customers in West Berkshire less than one minute to download a 2.5 hour-long HD film - faster than microwaving the popcorn.”

Howard Woollaston, Executive Portfolio Holder for Internal Governance at West Berkshire Council, says: “We are delighted that the majority of West Berkshire residents and businesses in rural areas are now receiving superfast broadband as part of this project. There have been challenges along the way, but this hasn’t stopped us wanting to deliver on this priority.

“This project will make Berkshire one of the best served counties for superfast broadband across the UK. This has put West Berkshire near the top of the league table in terms of Superfast coverage with levels of 96.2%.

“Whilst the majority of West Berkshire is complete, there remains a small number of premises to receive superfast broadband which will be delivered over the next couple of months.

Our goal is to ensure we have a 98% coverage rate for superfast broadband across West Berkshire however we will continue to work towards 100%.”

The Superfast Berkshire Programme will continue in East Berkshire to increase coverage to similar levels as West Berkshire. 

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