Rural Broadband

Faster Broadband for Elmore -May 2019 report from John Field

The Saga of a poor broadband download speed continues but there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Gigaclear, the company contracted by GCC to lay high speed fibre throughout Gloucestershire, has assured us that by mid to late 2019 the new system will be ready.

However, as we see it there is one rather large hurdle to overcome – namely connecting the fibre laid throughout the village to a server.

This is meant to be being done via a connection to Minsterworth which you may have realised is on the other side of the River Severn.

Since February 2018 the intention has been to drill under the river to establish the connection but the start date for drilling keeps slipping – the latest estimate is that the ‘drilling shot’ is due to take place on Monday 20th May – i.e. in less than 2 weeks!  Provided of course that all the necessary permissions have been granted.

We are aware that the trenching work carried out by Gigaclear’s contractors (Complete Utilities) has left rather a lot of large stones on the grass verge areas outside houses and on the grassed areas in lay-bys. In addition, some of the repair work to the tarmac surfaces is starting to subside. We have flagged this up to Gigaclear and await a response.

We have had 2 meetings or briefings from the Gigagclear Management team over the last year: one in August last year and one at the end of March. Since Gigaclear was awarded the contract by GCC for both Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, the company has signed further contracts with Devon & Somerset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Essex, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.

It would therefore appear that the company has grown rather too quickly and did not have the management teams in place to cope with the increased workload. This has meant both delays in the construction work as well as technical difficulties. There has also been a constant change of personalities which hasn’t made it easy for us to obtain clear answers to our concerns.

One of the unanswered issues is whether or not ISPs like Sky can operate via the Gigaclear network – at the moment there are only a handful of very small ISPs (none of which were previously known to me) who have signed contracts with Gigaclear – but we will keep you informed as the system develops.

 

We are aware that several households in the village have already explored alternative broadband connections including satellite, Cotswold Wireless and mobile telephone dongles. The success of such systems varies with both the In-Service Provider (ISP) (e.g. Sky & Talk Talk) as well as  the location.

 

John Field, Chairman Elmore Parish Council