Information & Frequently Asked Questions
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If there's something you would like to know that isn’t answered here, please just ask and we will do our best to answer as soon as possible. Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the ongoing costs?
Obviously cost is a concern but the figure of £38.80 does include VAT. Subscriptions don't start until installation is complete and needn't be extra, as with the optional £7 phone package, it can replace other charges like line rental & popular call features that you pay for now:
Item Wired Monthly Cost Range Gigaclear 50Mbps fibre costs
Broadband £12 – £24 £38.80
Phone Call Plan £7.00 £7
Line Rental £15.40 – £15.99 £0.00
Popular Call Features £3.00 – £5.00 £0.00
Typical Monthly Cost £37 – £51.40 £45.80
But faster speed IS needed! Copper = 1-24Mbps, Fibre = 50-1000Mbps
That is good value, paying (perhaps) £7 for over 50 times the speed!
However - since the above chart was prepared BT has confirmed a price rise of up to 6.5% from December 2014 for both line rental and broadband as well as many call charges. Obviously the timing couldn’t have been better for you as it will allow you to transfer without incurring termination costs. Gigaclear’s prices have just been increased for the first time in 4 years, with effect from January 1st 2015, by £1.80 (This is the Offcom limit of 2%+PIR which was 2.8%)
What would BT charge for a comparable service?
We daren’t tell you because you wouldn’t believe us! Unfortunately the only speeds they offer are 330Mbps down and 30Mbps upload, so that isn’t quite the same. We can only redirect you to their own BT OpenReach Fibre to the Premises (FTTP on Demand) website.
Isn’t it better to wait for the current supplier (BT?) to upgrade? This link to an article on how poor BT’s superfast fibre offering is being taken up by the general public shows that despite promises, it is not very superfast Even when the new Superfast boxes appear only 14% of properties in the area take it up! Being more expensive and with speeds still dropping the further away you are means not everyone wants an inferior product at inflated prices. Now you know why we went for the best - that everyone would want, but only rural villages can get!
How will it affect the value of my house? This Telegraph article on the effect of lack of decent broadband on house prices shows the value of being in this project area.
When will the Gigaclear build begin?
Once the 30% sign-up has been achieved, routeing and build plans will be firmed up. All of the basic routes have already been surveyed and alternative routes found to ensure resilience.
When can I expect to be connected?
The roll-out is expected to start by 2015, but that timescale is shortening. The fibre spine will come from Bretton then go to Marholm before Helpston and Ufford. Other villages will be added as fast as possible - mainly dependant on the number signed up.
What improvements in entertainment will we get with faster broadband?
There are far too many to itemise here but there is a ‘RadioAndTelly’ website which gives a summary of most of the TV and film services available.
Please note: The following questions are typical of those asked at previous projects
1. How will you decide where you will offer the service ie which villages/roads etc?
Gigaclear does a detailed plan with the intention of including as much of the community as possible. Where we build we will provide a connection to every property we pass, not just those that sign up initially.
2. If you decide to end your project at a particular place and the next road/next village wants to be involved what can they do to be included?
They need to show the demand (typically 30% sign up) and may have to pay an additional supplement to get the network extended depending on the distances involved.
3. Before you start digging, what do you need to go through in terms of local authority or land-owner permission? How does this happen? What is your experience of how long this can take?
We work with the Highway Authority and use an automated online notification process that coordinates streetworks between all coded operators called ETON. In rural areas this can take up to 12 weeks, but usually is completed much quicker. For landowners we use the Land Registry system and approach the landowners directly or with the assistance of the Parish Council. Sometimes this process is quick and easy, sometimes the Land Agents look to string this out for as long as possible without adding much value to the process.
4. As we have various parish/district/county councils interested in this project, what can they do to help ease the project?
Demand registration / Communication to the community / Liaison with highway authority / Order the service for own use
5. Have you a plan as to which area/village/street you can go to, when you could start and how long the project will be?
No this has not yet been decided and will come out of our detailed planning process. It also adapts based on the level of interest across the community.
6. How can our Peterborough Vale project get higher up the Gigaclear list? What can we do to maximise the chance of getting the service in our area?
Demonstrate the level of demand by obtaining >=30% orders sooner. Any grant/community financial support will also accelerate the process (taken as a loan or contribution to the community e.g. orders for social housing residents etc.
7. If our project is successful, how can our experience help other communities?
Communication / Case studies
8. What is your experience in other communities for encouraging takeup? Will Gigaclear help us with this?
There has been a good level of support from the Parish Council and Broadband Interest Groups. Driving communications and supporting information exchange events. Gigaclear sponsors/supports these events and drives the communications process.
9. If the take up for a particular road was poor, could those who want to take it up still get the service but pay more?
Yes where its in our plan we will provide connection points anyway. Where its off plan, we will provide connection cost options (at cost) or residents can use their own contractor to bury the cable, we provide the cable at £1.50/m.
10. Is there anything stopping you going ahead with the project for our area? If so what is it? Can we help remove those hurdles?
Level of demand (sign ups) / Agreements with Land Owners once the plan is drawn up
11. What are the best arguments you know to the following questions that I can envisage coming from people in the community:
11.1. Wouldn’t we be better to wait to see if BT / Virgin media improve their service?
Depends how long you wish to wait. VM are highly unlikely to ever build in rural communities. BT will, subject to the County Council/BDUK process. This will guarantee up to 24Mbps to 90% of the county, and 2Mbps to the rest. Rural areas are ‘the rest’.
11.2. Should we wait until the grant applications for BDUK / Defra work their way through the system?
You can of course wait for this but you will probably end up at some point with 2Mbps.
11.3. I am happy with my 1 / 2 / 4 Mbps service - why should I change?
Look at all the Govt etc services that are moving online. Most major entertainment services are now online and are lower cost online. Internet telephony (Vonage etc) is now cheaper and offers more features. Homebuyers are looking for decent broadband now as one of the essential services, house prices are impacted by poor broadband availability. Better broadband is a requirement for anyone that is studying/learning at any level.
11.4. Why is FTTH (Fibre to the Home) future proofed?
The fibre we put in the ground is expected to have an operating life of 50years. Today it runs at 1Gbps to every property. There is near unlimited capacity in the fibre we use. Fibre is unaffected by distance in our network, the weather and interference.
11.5. Isn’t FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) good enough?
FTTC is a good interim solution for anyone that lives within 800m of the cabinet with a decent copper pair between them and the cabinet. As you move further away the capacity and reliability diminishes.
12. What happens if you build the network and then go bust / decide to do something else? Does the network then 'disappear' and we have to start again from scratch?
Whilst we do not intend to ‘go bust’ , we are in fact building an asset based business. The network we build is based on internationally recognised standards and would rapidly be adopted by another service provider. The network and the connections to residents is a valuable asset that would never be wasted or become unusable.
13. What are the biggest blockages you have experienced in your other projects? Is it local authorities, low take up or people not appreciating the benefits etc.?
What tends to slow the adoption down is a lack of understanding of the benefits the service brings to individuals and the community. The learning we have to improve this is to increase the level and quality of communication across the community, and to engage with the community closely. Other objections arise from the need to dig the fibre to every property. Evidence from the last projects should overcome this issue as the reinstatement has been to a very high quality.
14. If we have a village hall / church hall in our village, can this be of use to you for a box/cabinet?
We will need to install a comms cabinet somewhere within the build. Support from the local authority would be very helpful and would speed up the planning process. Likewise visibility of the parish plan would help so that we can plan for any future expansion.
15. I am a business that has several users on site – can I get several lines in to the one premises so each business has their own line?
Yes as many as needed.
16. I would imagine we have a lot of noncommercial/infrequent internet users in the area & for them to get on board, cost could be a determining factor:
Possibly. When the total communications/entertainment subscriptions costs are taken into account we may still be cheaper.
16.1. Does the installation cost breakdown work in a similar way to other utilities i.e. the service provider installs the service to the boundary of the property & the landowner pays for the connection to the building?
16.2. If so, we have a wide range of properties in the area, some are adjacent to the road but many are a long distance away & it would be good to have an idea of what the approx cost would be to the landowner (per metre if possible)
Typically installation is £95 for up to 15M from our connection point. For properties with large drives, eg up to 100M installation may be up to £200 depending on how much hard dig is required. We provide a self install kit that has been used by 30% of Appleton residents with zero issues. Also a local handyman or electrician can perform the installation, its relatively easy if they can drill a hole through a wall.
17. Are broadband connections via satellite likely to provide sufficient speed for non‐commercial users in the future? What are the issues with satellite broadband? Why is FTTH better?
Broadband via Satellite is considerably better today than it used to be, however it is more expensive. Typically £50-60/mo for a 5-20Mbps connection. FTTH is considerably better as it provides near unlimited bandwidth, better reliability as it is unaffected by the weather, and does not require a satellite dish installed.
18. Could they explain the speed of their network a little more? For example '50+50Mbps reserved, bursting up to 1000/1000': am I right that means a minimum speed of 50Mbps up and down? What is the typical download speed actually seen, and to what extent does that vary with time of day?
We provide a connection at 1000Mbps to each property. Our network runs only at 1000Mbps.
This bandwidth is shared across all customers in the community and so is contended. We manage our contention ratios closely based on actual subscriptions and available bandwidth. Experience shows that on the Hambleton network which only has 100Mbps and has been live for over 2 years, customers see an average of 50-60Mbps throughout the day. On the Appleton network which has been live for 12 months, customers are seeing an average of 600-800Mbps
19. Can they say anything about the contention in their system? That is, the extent to which the connection is shared between different customers. Is there are a difference in this regard between packages offered for business and home use?
Contention is managed based on actual traffic measurements throughout the day, as well as with a simple calculation (number of customers, services subscribed to, and peak utilisation). The only difference across customers is the level of reserved bandwidth across the subscribed services.
20. They say that they offer a wholesale service to other ISPs. Which ISPs are offering services based on their existing networks?
We are negotiating currently with a wholesale ‘gateway’ provider that has >15 ISP’s on their platform today. We expect this to be complete soon allowing any of these or future ISP’s to deliver service over our network. Our intention is to be as open as possible
You can read about Gigaclear here: http://www.gigaclear.com
or go online to Gigaclear to order:-
or ring their office on - 01865 591100