Gigaclear Secures £26.5m Government Contracts for Oxfordshire Broadband Expansion

Abingdon-based Gigaclear has been awarded two UK government contracts, collectively valued at £26.5 million, to enhance full fibre broadband accessibility in rural Oxfordshire. This substantial investment is set to benefit around 10,000 homes and businesses, marking a significant stride in the government’s ambitious £5 billion Project Gigabit programme.

In tandem with the government’s financial support, Gigaclear is committing additional resources to propel the three-year contracts forward. The Project Gigabit initiative, aimed at providing high-speed, gigabit-capable broadband to underserved communities, is instrumental in bridging digital connectivity gaps across the UK.

The scope of the project spans over 40 rural communities in north and south Oxfordshire, including Ardington, Uffington, Binfield Heath, Begbroke, Duns Tew, and North Aston. Survey activities are slated to commence promptly, with construction scheduled to kick off in spring 2024. Leveraging 68% PIA (existing infrastructure like poles and ducting), Gigaclear aims to expedite delivery and minimize disruptions, anticipating completion by autumn 2026.

Once the deployment is finalized, these communities will join the growing roster of rural areas benefiting from Gigaclear’s network. The impact includes access to fast and reliable full fibre broadband, enabling activities such as streaming digital content, remote work, and the use of smart devices.

Cllr Neil Fawcett, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community & Corporate Services, expressed satisfaction with Gigaclear’s role in enhancing broadband infrastructure. He highlighted the collaborative history with Gigaclear and emphasized the transformative impact on broadband services in areas requiring intervention through Project Gigabit.

Gigaclear CEO Gareth Williams welcomed the contract awards, emphasizing the company’s crucial role in advancing the government’s broadband rollout objectives. Having already invested over £70 million in extending the network across rural communities, Williams anticipates reaching more than 85,000 residents and businesses in rural Oxfordshire through these contracts.

Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, underlined the government’s commitment to universal internet access. Referring to the £5 billion Project Gigabit investment, he expressed enthusiasm for the positive impact on communities in Oxfordshire, stressing the benefits for households, businesses, and the potential for skills development in the broadband sector.

The awarded contracts align with Gigaclear’s dedication to supporting Project Gigabit’s goals, extending reach through initiatives like the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. The company remains proactive in identifying further opportunities to connect even the most remote villages and hamlets.

Jonny Rae

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