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Gigaclear selects EXFO fiber monitoring for rapid network expansion

EXFO, the communications industry’s test, monitoring and analytics experts, announced that leading rural UK ISP Gigaclear has selected EXFO’s remote fiber testing and monitoring solution to support Gigaclear’s ambitious expansion plans. EXFO’s technology will allow the ISP to ensure “first time right” deployment to reduce fault finding and truck rolls during operation, and rapid fault identification once in service, from just a few strategic, central locations within its network.

Gigaclear’s mission is to take fiber further to rural towns and villages as the first fiber provider in those locations. Its network is already present in over 650 rural communities covering more than 22 counties across the South-West, the Midlands and the South-East of England, and more than 300,000 premises are already connected to its FTTP network. The service provider is now in the advanced stages of expanding its network to provide its services to thousands more premises in the counties of Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire over the next few years.

To meet the government’s deployment targets, UK fiber providers must accelerate build times from 1.5 million homes passed per year (in 2019), to 6 million homes passed by 2025, installing more than 500,000 kilometers of fiber in the process.

EXFO’s technology will help Gigaclear substantially reduce network deployment and turn-up time in pursuit of its fully-funded build target of 500,000 premises by December 2023, contributing to the Government’s goal of connecting 85 percent of UK premises to gigabit-capable broadband by 2025. In addition, the technology substantially reduces the time and cost associated with fault-finding and repair once networks are in service, increasing network resilience and customer satisfaction.

“It isn’t often that you see an opportunity to do something both faster and better, but this is certainly one of those cases. We are pleased to be adopting EXFO’s centralized test system as our primary method of network assurance in our next-generation network areas,” said James Harrison, Chief Engineer, Gigaclear. “Combined with our proprietary and tightly integrated test and network data management systems, EXFO’s fiber monitoring technology and iOLM test units ensure our planned network is built accurately and to the quality standards we expect. We’re also able to proactively monitor our network, helping ensure a reliable, dependable service for customers.”

EXFO’s remote fiber testing and monitoring solution is based on fixed OTDR test equipment placed at strategic central locations across the network. Through optical switching, the solution automates and speeds up the execution of tests throughout various phases of the network lifecycle, from deployment to operation. This allows the condition of fiber optic installations to be constantly checked and the locations of degradations or breaks pinpointed within minutes of occurring.

“The UK is experiencing rapid fiber rollout, driven by ambitious government goals and supported by substantial funding, but extending fiber networks in rural UK involves complex environments as well as extensive resources and manpower. Operators cannot afford to make mistakes as they are costly to rectify once in service,” said Wim te Niet, Vice President, EMEA, EXFO. “First-time-right fiber deployment should be the principal goal of all fiber operators as this substantially reduces costly and time-consuming “truck rolls” to fix faulty networks. Our remote fiber testing and monitoring solution provides complete visibility across all stages of the network lifecycle, and Gigaclear’s technicians can immediately fix issues before end customers are affected, without having to diagnose in the field, saving time and money overall.”

James Harrison concluded, “As we grow, speed and simplicity of work in the field becomes more important, and we have been able to dramatically increase our speed of test by using EXFO’s solution, while eliminating manual data handling for our office and field teams, reducing the risk of errors. Gigaclear has been on the leading edge of optical assurance and test data automation for some time, and we’re always keen to stay ahead of the pack.”

CT Bureau

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