This month marks the fifth anniversary of rural Oxfordshire being connected to Gigaclear’s Ultrafast broadband network. The county was among the first in the UK to have Internet speeds of up to 1Gbps when the villages of Appleton and Eaton were connected in the summer of 2012. Since then, thousands of premises across rural parts of the county have been given access to Gigaclear’s future proof, Ultrafast full fibre network.
Construction of Gigaclear’s first Ultrafast network began in July 2012, with the first customers connected in August that same year. Five years later, the Abingdon-based business has brought thousands of homes and businesses in rural Oxfordshire into the 21st century, transforming the way people in the county work and play. From its first network of just 430 homes in the two villages, 11,000 properties in rural Oxfordshire and a further 40,000 premises across the country now have access to the UK’s fastest broadband speeds.
As Gigaclear’s network has grown, so has the company itself, marking it out as a real business success story for the county. From a starting point of five employees in 2012, the company now employs 180 passionate people dedicated to bringing the best broadband to Britain and will continue to grow rapidly over the coming year as it expands its networks into more underserved communities. To support this growth, the company recently secured a further investment of £111million which will enable it to reach and connect hundreds of thousands more people.
Matthew Hare, Chief Executive of Gigaclear, explains why he worked with the Appleton Broadband Group and Appleton with Eaton Parish Council to install Oxfordshire’s first Ultrafast broadband network in the community:
“It all came about from sheer frustration. Residents and businesses in rural parts of the county were simply unable to access the Internet services they wanted, and were struggling to find a provider who could give them what they wanted. When I explained what Gigaclear could do for Appleton with Eaton, they agreed to take a leap of faith with us, an unknown, new company.
“It was inspiring to see villagers grouping together to push the project forward, working with us to persuade enough of their neighbours to commit to taking the service so we could make the investment without the community having to pay towards the build costs. Now, five years later, it’s great to see how far they have come. From new thriving businesses to less commuting to a much wider choice of entertainment at home, Ultrafast broadband has made a dramatic difference to the local economy and community. Happy fifth Giga-birthday Appleton!”
Residents in the villages haven’t looked back since being connected to the Gigaclear network. Nick Withers, owner of a graphic design business in Appleton, explains: “There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for hours on end for a webpage to load or an email to send, so when Gigaclear came forward with a solution, it was a lifesaver for people in the village, many of whom had their own businesses.
“As a former resident, Gigaclear’s founder Matthew Hare understood the ‘ins and outs’ of the village and potential for the installation of a full fibre network, so it was a happy marriage for us all. Now there’s no stopping us. Appleton is far from a sleepy village – we’ve always been active in getting things done, even more so over the last five years since we have had Gigaclear. With Britain’s best Internet connection, we’re certainly not showing any signs of slowing down!”