Bridging the gap

1st May 2018

Filed Under: Announcements

Gigaclear uses historic Clifton Suspension Bridge to bring ultrafast, full fibre broadband to forgotten communities. Pioneers in connecting rural locations, […]

Gigaclear uses historic Clifton Suspension Bridge to bring ultrafast, full fibre broadband to forgotten communities.

Pioneers in connecting rural locations, Gigaclear uses 19th century engineering marvel to bring connections from the fibre-rich city of Bristol, catapulting rural villages into the 21st century.

Leading ultrafast rural broadband provider, Gigaclear, is today continuing its mission to supply ultrafast broadband to some of the hardest to reach areas in the South West. By laying cables underneath Clifton Suspension Bridge, Gigaclear becomes the first utilities provider since 1935 to use the 19th century bridge, to deliver a 21st century broadband solution enabling internet speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).

The area, untouched by other broadband rivals, has previously struggled with antique copper-based networks that are unable to support the increasing demands of technology. Gigaclear’s investment will spell the end to the clear disparity between the fibre-rich city of Bristol and the digitally stagnant surrounding villages, with many residents limited and struggling with speeds as slow as 1Mbps. By using Bristol’s iconic landmark, Gigaclear’s Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology will propel digitally isolated communities into the modern age, transforming the lives of residents and business owners alike, who will soon be able to take advantage of speeds 26 times faster than the national average. Crossing the bridge will also act as gateway for Gigaclear to continue building its full fibre network, expanding its footprint into North Somerset.

A critical element to the design, is that the cables will be laid underneath the bridge, therefore avoiding any disruption to locals or the bridge itself. This method mirrors Gigaclear’s principle of being underground, meaning the new fibre optic cables are shielded from the elements and less prone to damage. This allows Gigaclear to guarantee a more resilient, future-proof broadband service.

Matthew Hare, Chief Executive, Gigaclear commented: “Over 150 years ago, Clifton Suspension Bridge was a pioneering development, linking communities together using what was revolutionary technology for the time. Today, Gigaclear is using the best technology the 21st century can offer to move forgotten communities into the modern age – finally giving them access to the facilities their urban peers have been utilising for years. Geography should never dictate what infrastructure locals have access to. It’s this shocking disparity that fuels our commitment at Gigaclear to keep breaking boundaries. The internet is so ingrained in our lifestyles, we must prioritise an equitable service-provision across the country.”

Chris Booy, Chairman, Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust added: “Not since 1935 has another utilities provider crossed the bridge directly, and we’re delighted to be helping Gigaclear bring this life-changing service to locals. By taking the direct route, there will be no disruption and is a win-win for everybody in the community. It’s amazing to see this monument of British engineering being utilised as a catalyst for modern infrastructure.”

Following the week-long crossing of the bridge, construction of the new fibre network will start in the coming months, with residents and businesses in the community of Abbots Leigh being amongst the first to experience the ultrafast service from September this year.

Hare concluded: “Today’s world is so reliant on a fast, reliable connection that for those who don’t have access to this, it’s like living on a different planet. Working, streaming television or even updating a mobile phone goes from being a simple task to a laborious nightmare. Soon, residents will be able to build their smart homes of the future, linking all devices to one future-proof connection. I am delighted that homes and businesses in Bristol and the wider region, will finally be able to tap into the Digital Economy.”

Gigaclear is currently in a phase of substantial growth, now connecting over 65,000 homes and businesses across rural Britain. It has won a number of contracts to deliver broadband networks to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Berkshire, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, West Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Essex and Northamptonshire through the Government-backed Broadband Delivery UK programme.