Ultrafast rural broadband network operator, Gigaclear, has installed its first pure fibre broadband cabinet in Birchanger, in Uttlesford, as part of the Superfast Essex broadband programme. The installation has brought some of the fastest broadband speeds available in the world to people living and working in the district.

The cabinet is currently providing 212 properties in Birchanger with a connection to a futureproof pure fibre broadband network with far more properties becoming enabled across Uttlesford in the coming months, including more in Birchanger, as even more cabinets are installed, and network connections built. The Gigaclear network is capable of delivering download and upload speeds of up to 900Mbps, meaning it would take less than a minute to download a 2.5-hour HD film – faster than boiling a kettle.

Transforming the broadband speeds of Birchanger was a significant civil engineering project. Gigaclear contractor Kier worked to dig up 5.3km of carriageway, footway and verge to lay just over 6.5km of fibre.

Gigaclear is committed to delivering ultrafast fibre broadband to more than 4,600 properties in Uttlesford District, as part of Phase 3 of its work with Superfast Essex, Essex County Council’s broadband improvement programme. The £6.8million contract is funded by an investment from Essex County Council, a local funding contribution from Uttlesford District Council, a matching government grant from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and a significant investment from private sector network operator Gigaclear.

Commenting on the new development, Drew Ritchie, Chief Operating Officer at Gigaclear said: “This marks the start of a hugely exciting time for residents and businesses who live and work across the Uttlesford District. We believe passionately in the importance of digital inclusion for all, no matter how rural their chosen home or business is, and we are delighted that our network is bringing world-class broadband speeds to residents of Birchanger in partnership with Superfast Essex. We hear time and again how an excellent internet connection can really transform lives, be it accessing important social and retail services remotely or simply keeping in touch with family members living far away.”

Essex County Councillor Gagan Mohindra, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said, “I’m thrilled residents can now buy ultrafast broadband in Birchanger because of Superfast Essex’s work with Gigaclear. This is the first of many cabinet areas due to be connected, meaning shortly even more Uttlesford homes and businesses will be able to benefit too. Building a brand-new broadband network is no easy feat, but the long-term benefits to the economy and quality of home life makes it a very worthwhile project for Essex County Council to invest in.”

Gigaclear has already worked with Superfast Essex to enable over 4,000 homes and businesses in Epping Forest District to benefit from its full fibre network. Essex County Council is now working with Gigaclear to extend its network to other parts of Essex, in Uttlesford District as well as in the Central North of the county (including parts of Braintree District and Colchester Borough), and more of Epping Forest District.

Residents and businesses interested in receiving Gigaclear’s ultrafast broadband service can find out more at www.gigaclear.net/superfastessex.

About Superfast Essex:

Superfast Essex is the county’s broadband improvement programme co-ordinated by Essex County Council, and part of the Government’s national Superfast Britain programme. The programme is working to enable as many homes and businesses as possible to access superfast broadband to enable economic growth and improve residents’ quality of life.

Superfast Essex has three current contracts with Gigaclear which will be completed between now and July 2020. Residents can use the Superfast Essex rollout map to check if they are in delivery plans at www.superfastessex.org/maps. The premises in Birchanger that are live and able to place orders for ultrafast broadband will be updated on the rollout map shortly.

About Gigaclear:

Gigaclear designs, builds and operates the UK’s largest Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network, focusing on delivering gigabit-speeds to rural areas where a disproportionate number of residents and business cannot access reliable broadband.

Established in 2010, our network now reaches more than 200 communities across 22 counties – and growing. We are working hard to reach our target of connecting 500,000 premises by 2024 which will provide rural residential and business properties with the UK’s best broadband and allow them to work, communicate, play and study anytime – all the time.

Gigaclear builds new networks using two investment models. Our first communities were connected using investor funds and we continue to invest commercially in rural communities where there is a demand for better broadband. Our second investment model is under the BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) scheme, working with Local Bodies where we bid for and may be awarded a contract that part subsidises the build of new superfast broadband networks.

Gigaclear Ltd is principally owned by Infracapital, a leading European Infrastructure investor who are expected to manage the future funding needs of the company to enable Gigaclear to successfully expand its footprint across rural Britain.

Media Contact

For Gigaclear media enquiries please contact:

Jack Quinney, Energy PR
Tel: 0199 382 3011

For Essex County Council media enquiries please contact:

Charlotte Deighton, Essex County Council
Tel: 0333 013 4215


Essex County Council Press office: 03330 132800, press.desk@essex.gov.uk
Out of hours urgent enquiries: 07717 867525

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