When searching for broadband deals, it’s often the case that urban residents have more options for fast connectivity than people in rural regions. However, Gigaclear have made it their mission to get country dwellers connected, with some of the fastest broadband services available beyond the city limits. Coverage is currently patchy, but business broadband is also offered where Gigaclear has a network in place.
Gigaclear’s stated aim is to provide rural communities with fast, reliable broadband. It’s a noble undertaking, albeit one that requires this internet service provider (ISP) to slowly construct a new network using its own underground cables.
Gigaclear is one of a growing number of relatively youthful ISPs exclusively offering full Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband along its own cable infrastructure, as opposed to the Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) connections offered by Openreach. The latter model is used by most ISPs, with the majority of the connection carried across modern fibre optic cables, while copper cables complete data’s journey into your home from the nearest pavement street cabinet. While FTTC can reach impressive superfast speeds, FTTP is capable of ultrafast and even hyperfast speeds, making it the preferred option for heavy internet users or people with bandwidth-intensive hobbies.
Gigaclear calls its connectivity ‘Smart Broadband’, and the specifications of its router certainly live up to that billing. Some broadband contracts come with two routers that create a mesh connection across your home for reliable and smooth connectivity, while each device sports six antennas and high-powered amplifiers to ensure seamless Wi-Fi. The router has a premium design which is minimal, unassuming and highly functional.
Gigaclear’s business broadband options are competitively priced considering the ISP’s limited coverage. They offer full fibre options to small businesses and significantly larger enterprises, with unlimited data and symmetrical upload/download speeds across 24-month contracts.
Gigaclear offers a range of internet options with extremely impressive speeds (indicated in the name of the deal), even without taking into consideration the rural locations they serve. While inevitably higher than prices in urban areas, these costs aren’t extortionate for the performance you get, especially since upload speeds are identical to downloads:
Families are catered to even at the lowest limit of Gigaclear’s offerings, with an average household able to stream movies and connect multiple smart devices without a notable performance drop-off. This package comes with one Linksys router.
These sorts of speeds won’t be offered by the majority of ISPs even in urban areas, making Ultrafast 100 a unique offering. Households will be able to stream to their heart’s content, even simultaneously.
Trebling upload and download speeds compared to the 100 package, Gigaclear’s Ultrafast 300 also doubles the number of routers, ensuring seamless coverage across large homes. These speeds represent a significant improvement on even the best FTTC deals you can find via Openreach suppliers.
Also including two routers, Gigaclear’s unambiguously-named Hyperfast 900 package delivers some of the fastest average download (and in particular upload) speeds you’re currently able to receive anywhere in the UK. Monthly costs are high, but the blistering performance will be a revelation.
Gigaclear imposes an 18-month minimum term on their residential packages, although the price will also be fixed for this duration. As of March 2021, activation costs of £30 apply, but installation is free – although this is a significantly more complex process than simply plugging in a router, as explained below.
Gigaclear will connect your home to their network using a Point of Termination (POT). That means a fibre connection has to be laid at the boundary of your property, involving everything from digging up gardens and health & safety assessments through to drilling into walls. That’s a big undertaking, which may fall foul of landlords or conservation area restrictions. Extra costs may also be incurred if the installation hits a snag, such as a POT needing to be further away than Gigaclear considers to be standard.
Aside from paying to cover the costs of a relatively complicated installation, cancellation fees are high. You may incur an extra one-off fee of £30 to process a cancelled broadband contract.
Gigaclear does not offer call packages, and there’s no need to install or use a traditional phone line to access its proprietary cable network. That’s helpful for people happy to rely on mobiles and VoIP communications.
Gigaclear’s customer service is open 12 hours a day during the week and seven hours at weekends. Small business broadband customers can expect any requested maintenance to be carried out within three working days, or the next working day for larger companies.
Gigaclear maintains a respectable 3.7 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot as of March 2021, with 42 per cent of reviews being Excellent and a further 22 per cent listed as Great. Unhappy customers cited issues with installation damage caused by subcontractors, frequent service dropouts, and issues with customer service.
It’s worth remembering that quoted average speeds won’t be accessible by Wi-Fi – only through devices that are directly connected to the router. That said, any Wi-Fi connection will be slower and less stable than a hardwired connection along Ethernet or Powerline cabling.
|Full fibre broadband||Headline speeds not available as WiFi|
|Excellent upload/download speeds||Limited national coverage|
|No phone line needed||No call package options|
|Fixed price contract||Mixed customer service reviews|
|Designed for rural residents|
Based on their advertised speeds, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better ISP than Gigaclear in any part of the UK, let alone in rural counties. That in itself might resemble a compelling case for adopting their services, but stories of complicated and intrusive installations may redirect wary consumers towards mobile broadband as a cheaper and more practical option.
Gigaclear’s extremely limited network means local availability is unlikely, while supplying your property may not be straightforward depending on where the POT needs to be located. However, for anyone able and willing to sign up, Gigaclear may represent the only opportunity to enjoy hyperfast FTTP broadband in a rural property.
Last updated: 24 March 2021