2018 European Full Fibre Award: Matthew Hare, Gigaclear, honoured

14th February 2018, Valencia

Matthew Hare, CEO Gigaclear, today received the FTTH Council Europe’s award for an outstanding contribution to the acceleration of FTTH in Europe.

Just a few years ago the number of UK delegates at this annual conference could be counted on the fingers of one hand. We will not know until tomorrow if the UK will at last be featured on the pan-European league table of countries with at least 1% of homes and businesses with Full Fibre connections. The UK’s absence has not been for want of trying but more an indication of the scale of challenge for this copper-constrained country.

Matthew’s contribution has focused on rural environments — the very places that conventional wisdom would assume to present the most complex business case. In tackling that challenge his company Gigaclear has shown that the costs of rural deployment can be lower and investment value higher than earlier assumptions.

The difference reflects a systematic examination of every aspect of deployment to optimise both Capital and Operational expenditures whilst still meeting exacting standards for future reliability.

It usually takes about 7 years to be recognised as an ‘overnight star’. Matthew Hare is no exception, starting his company in 2010. The challenges have been endless — from finding investors prepared to look afresh at business models through to battling with planners and local authorities who still have maps (and mind-sets) annotated ‘GPO’.

One of Gigaclear’s strongest design principles lies in the quality of the civil works. They need no poles — the network is entirely ducted underground. This may seem expensive but Gigaclear will not risk future operational snags in a different digital world that demands reliability.

Full Fibre networks have huge customer advantages compared to copper networks. Matthew’s success reflects the massive pent-up demand from consumers and businesses in rural areas where copper lines are longer and less reliable.

Matthew Hare is not alone in pushing forward the UK’s step change in attitudes to Full Fibre. Competition, particularly in urban areas, is getting stronger every day and consumers are beginning to appreciate the quality of Full Fibre connections that offer the same ultrafast speeds for both download and upload data flows.