Fibre Broadband Update – December 2023
Since the last BMRT I have been working to understand the plans by Gigaclear for Ropley Dean and Ropley, and any potential impact of their plans on the Project Gigabit contract that has been awarded to CityFibre for 76,000 properties in Hampshire.
Gigaclear are currently planning to install fibre in both Ropley and Ropley Dean during 2024. Their installation will start with a new fibre hub in Bishops Sutton during spring 2024, followed by residential installations in Bishops Sutton, then Ropley Dean and parts of Ropley. They are only planning a selective coverage in Ropley and currently their focus is on Winchester Road, Gascoigne Lane, Dunsells Lane, Church Street, Church Lane, Hale Close and Petersfield Road from A31 to Lyewood House, as well as Gilbert Street as far as, and including Court Lane and Vicarage Lane as far as Homeside. They are NOT planning to cover Monkwood, Soames Lane, Stapley Lane, Parkstone Road, Hammonds Lane, Gilbert Street (beyond Court Lane), Swelling Hill, Lyeway Lane, Vicarage Lane beyond Homeside, Berry Hill, most of Park Lane, Station Hill, Bighton Hill beyond Colebrook Field or Maddocks Hill.
This represents about 400 houses, so around 60% of Ropley and Ropley Dean. Gigaclear is a commercial company so their decisions on which properties to cover are driven by the cost of installation. They are not allowed to use the poles that also carry power, so on roads that have these they would have to either use existing ducts, any non-power poles or install ducts, new poles or trench in verges, and the cost of doing these will determine where they cover.
The CityFibre contract for Hampshire includes all Ropley and Ropley Dean properties, so the remaining 300 houses should be covered by CityFibre, although probably not until late 2025.It is not clear whether CityFibre will also cover the 400 houses that Gigaclear are planning to cover. I am trying to get a statement from either BDUK (Government department responsible for Project Gigabit) or the Hampshire County Broadband team as to the impact of the Gigaclear activity on the viability of the CityFibre plans for Ropley. If their funding is reduced, and Gigaclear have already installed the easy and cheaper to cover properties, then CityFibre have less funding to install the more complex and expensive properties, and also less income from ongoing connection contracts. This information is proving, unsurprisingly, difficult to get hold of!
I will continue to have discussions with both CityFibre and Gigaclear and keep you updated through BMRT and myropley.org.uk (https://www.myropley.org.uk/ropley-broadband-programme/)
If you are interested in getting fibre broadband, and haven’t previously registered your interest, please drop us an email at email@example.com.
Charles Louisson, district councillor
Last updated December 2023