Internet provider tasked with rolling out broadband across Devon and Somerset has contracts terminated

PUBLISHED: 09:39 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:39 20 September 2019

Picture: Getty Images

Picture: Getty Images

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An internet service provider tasked with rolling out full-fibre broadband across Devon and Somerset has had its five contracts severed.

Gigaclear was commissioned by Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) to roll out the superfast broadband, but allegedly failed to meet targets set in 2018 for the number of homes and businesses connected.

A spokesman for Gigaclear said the firm was 'disappointed' with the decision, and is now considering its future plans in the region.

CDS said it will be launching a fresh procurement on the open market this autumn and begin the search for one or more service providers.

CDS and the Government's Building Digital UK (BDUK) agency said they have been unable to agree an acceptable recovery plan with Gigaclear for the company's publicly subsidised contracts.

The company had earlier been placed on notice of default after failing to meet contract targets set in early 2018 for the number of homes and businesses connected.

The company, under new ownership since last summer, had incurred significant delays with its broadband roll-out due to previous failings and the collapse of Carillion in early 2018.

A Gigaclear spokesman said: "Gigaclear have been working hard to agree a revised plan to help deliver this vital service, and we are disappointed that we are now unable to progress in this area.

"We remain committed to delivering Fibre to the Premises in 20 other counties across England and to date have built the physical infrastructure to over 100,000 properties."

Councillor David Hall, a board member at CDS, said: "Despite painstaking work by all concerned, it has not been possible to agree a recovery plan that CDS and the Government's Building Digital UK agency could support with confidence.

"CDS is working closely with BDUK on a new procurement process and taking all necessary steps to secure alternative full-fibre broadband providers for our residents and businesses.

"They are our top priority and we are determined to achieve the best possible outcome for them."

Cllr Hall said more than 300,000 homes and businesses so far have received access to superfast broadband through the CDS programme.

Since its formation in 2013, CDS has been working to bring broadband to some of the hardest to reach rural communities in England.

The programme has achieved this by awarding public subsidised contracts to companies through competitive tender to build the infrastructure needed.

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