Gigaclear Buyers Guide
Can I get Gigaclear broadband?
Gigaclear is a rural broadband provider. It currently covers over 40,000 premises across a dozen counties, with funding to expand across other parts of the UK in future.
Gigaclear runs a fibre-to-the-home network, where the fibre cables run directly into your property. This can lead to a faster and more reliable service.
Most fibre providers in the UK use fibre-to-the-cabinet. Here, the fibre connection runs as far as your nearest street cabinet, and a copper cable is used from there to your home. This can result in you achieving far less than the advertised speeds, especially if you live a long way from the street cabinet (as is very often the case in rural areas). Such slowdowns should not be an issue with Gigaclear's service, although its coverage is much more limited.
Use our postcode checker to find out if Gigaclear is available in your village. If it isn't you can register your interest via the Gigaclear website. However, for the service to be considered for installation in your area it will need significant interest from the rest of your community, and you'll need to be within 3km of existing fibre infrastructure or another village that already has access to Gigaclear.
What packages are available?
Gigaclear has four fibre broadband packages available for residential customers. The main difference between the options is the speeds they offer.
The packages are:
- GO 30 - unlimited fibre broadband with download and upload speeds averaging at 30Mb, with the option to upgrade to a 1Gb service for a 48hr period
- GO 300 - unlimited fibre broadband with download and upload speeds averaging at 300Mb. There's an option to boost this to 1Gb for 48 hours, plus you can get a static IP address for a little extra each month
- GO 900 - the fastest package offers an unlimited service, with upload and download speeds averaging at 900Mb. There's also the option to take a static IP address
All the packages are on a minimum 18 month contract with a guarantee that the price will not rise during that period, and come with an activation fee, 5% of customers will have to pay £120 installation, subject to a no obligation survey. Because installation for fibre-to-the-home services are more complex, these fees are somewhat higher than you'd normally expect to pay.
If you prefer to combine your broadband and phone into a single bundle you can add a voice over IP (VOIP) calls deal from Vonage. This uses your internet connection to make and receive calls, but you can usually keep your existing phone number. The main downside to a VOIP service is that it won't work if your internet is down, including if there's a power cut.
Which package should I choose?
Because there are so few differences between all the packages your main choice should be based on what speed you require.
The 30Mb package is likely to be plenty for most users. Assuming you achieve close to this speed, it's faster than you'd get from a basic fibre package from a provider that uses the Openreach network (and potentially faster than you'd get from a high end offering, too). 30Mb is enough for a few users to stream Netflix and iPlayer, or make large downloads, simultaneously.
The 300Mb is better for more demanding households and best suited for those who work from home, while the 900Mb offer is as fast as you can get in the UK.
The 300Mb and 1Gb packages also include the ability to choose a static IP address. Most users won't need this, but if you are self employed and need to access your PC remotely, want to run a server (such as your own email server), or are a heavy user of VOIP phone services, it can be worth looking into.
Before you sign up you should also make sure you're clear about the installation process. Installation requires a cable to be run from the fibre pot on the boundary of your property to the router inside your house. This means a hole will need to be drilled in your wall, and for concrete, paving or garden to be dug up outside. This will all be reinstated by approved installers, but installation can be quite expensive as a result. You can choose to install it yourself if you have the tools and know-how.
Points to consider before you choose
- Is the service available in your area?
- How fast are the other broadband services available to you?
- Do you need fast upload speeds?
- Are you happy to take out a 15 month contract?
What do I get when I sign up?
It's good to know what you're getting when you sign up to a broadband provider, so you can budget for any extras you may need. In the case of Gigaclear, it's a strictly no-frills service.
- Free wireless router - All users get a free Genexis Wi-Fi router designed specifically for fibre-to-the-home broadband.
- Installation kit - If you opt to install the service yourself you'll get an installation kit including instruction guide and a cable up to 50m in length. If you need a longer cable you have to pay for it.
- Parental controls - The free parental control software enables you to restrict what sites your children can view
- Customer support - Free customer support is available by phone, 24 hours a day (via a standard rate number). Email support is also available.
What are the benefits of Gigaclear broadband?
So what are the best reasons for considering broadband from Gigaclear?
- Fast rural internet access - Internet services in rural areas is notoriously terrible. If Gigaclear is available in your area it's all but guaranteed to be the best you can get, by some margin.
- Unbeatable speeds - The 1Gb package is as fast as you can get in the UK. In addition, fibre-to-the-home broadband should deliver the advertised speeds.
- Very fast upload speeds - With upload speeds that match the download speeds, the service is ideal if you share a lot of large files, or make video calls.
- Guaranteed price - Your monthly price is guaranteed for the length of the 18 month minimum contract term, unlike many other providers who may institute price increases at any time with only 30 days notice
- Standalone broadband - You can get Gigaclear without the need for a landline.
- Unlimited access - All of Gigaclear's broadband packages come with no limits on the amount of data you can download.
- Free tech support - Free customer support is available by phone whenever you need it.
What are the drawbacks of Gigaclear?
No service is perfect, so what are the possible downsides of choosing Gigaclear?
- More expensive - Gigaclear brings ultrafast broadband to rural areas, but you do pay a premium for this.
- Difficult installation - Fibre-to-the-home is a lot more difficult to install than the more common fibre-to-the-cabinet, and may even require concrete or paving to be dug up in your front garden. In most cases this is free, but 5% of customers will need full installation. You can do it yourself if you have the skills, while the price for using an approved installer starts at £120 (subject to a no obligation survey).
- Very limited availability - Although Gigaclear is continuing to expand into more communities, availability is currently still very limited.
- Few extras - The service comes with minimal extras.
- High activation fee for GO 30 - there's a £120 activation fee for the 30Mb GO 30 package, cancelling out some of the cost benefits of opting for a cheaper monthly cost package.
- Telephone service requires broadband - A VOIP phone service only works where broadband is available. This means you can't make calls - even emergency calls - when there's a power cut.