As the country gets smarter and more connected, the need for reliable and fast internet is more important than ever. Sadly for many businesses based in rural areas, this has long been just a pipe dream, as they struggle with sluggish speeds and spotty connections.
However Gigaclear is looking to ameliorate this pain, providing fibre broadband connections across to thousands of customers across the UK since 2010.
The company, which recently announced it had raised £111m in new equity back in May, works directly with local county councils to install FTTP networks that can be a lifeline for many rural communities.
“When a county picks us, they get a huge multiplier effect on their grant money, because building a full-fibre network in rural areas is much more expensive either than extending the existing copper network or building a fixed wireless network," Gigaclear CEO Matthew Hare told ITProPortal.
“Largely, counties are very enthusiastic and supportive about what we are doing, because they see our investment in new infrastructure as economically massively beneficial...people stop complaining about broadband!”
“The...benefits of having a new, full-fibre infrastructure serving homes and businesses is important, as it’s important to the people who live and work in those counties”
The company also recently won a £58m grant from the government's BDUK programme, which Hare says will help ensure Gigaclear can extend its work even further across the country.
"The network we’re going to be putting in place will be running for the next 50 years or so, so has a much longer life than the other options offered to them
"The networks we build are lit at day one...we’re putting infrastructure in place that can deliver whatever speed and capacity customers want in the future...that isn’t dependent on re-engineering the network.”
Business and consumers can both benefit from the step up that fibre networks provide, Hare says, noting that, “I think that pretty much every business we dig the network past ends up taking the service.”
Larger businesses, many of whom may have already taken a connection from BT's Openreach division, can also work with Gigaclear to get additional fibre for tougher business resilience. Those start-ups and SMBs based in rural locations can also enjoy more reliable connections, allowing them to embrace technologies such as cloud hosting for certain processes and remote working for employees out in the field.
Looking forward, Hare also notes that Gigaclear's work is helping lay the foundations for the launch of 5G networks across the UK. Set to launch around 2020, 5G should provide major upgrades in terms of speed, latency and reliability, but questions have been raised about the ability and resilience of network infrastructure in place around the UK.
“The reality is that, because we’re building new fibre networks in parts of the country where largely there aren’t fibre networks, it means that the ability of the operators to quickly and at lower cost, and cheaply deploy their 4G/4.5G networks is hugely enhanced,” says Hare.
“The fact that we now have lots of fibre networks where previously we didn’t means that the people who provide those services...now have an easier path to deploy more base stations quickly, and that means you’ll get better service.”
“To put it bluntly, more fibre is a key building block in delivering better mobile services.”