Total Telecom spoke to Gareth Williams, CEO at Gigaclear, to learn more about the biggest challenges when it comes to building a more connected Britain

Please tell us a little about yourself and your current role at Gigaclear
I am CEO at Gigaclear, the UK’s leading rural broadband provider. We are the Heineken beer of the UK infrastructure ISP industry. 
We seek to profitably build to the parts of the country other telcos can’t, will not, and don’t want to reach.
Who or what inspired you to begin a career in telecoms?
I met a Strategy Head in DHL, who told me the future of comms was optical and that the world would never be the same. I joined BT within 30 days, and one year later I was the Product Manager that landed the first Transatlantic Fibre Optic Cable in 1988.
What does the term Connected Britain mean to you? 
To me, Connected Britain means more than just the rollout of full fibre and 5G. It’s about connecting family, friends, businesses and communities, and ultimately closing the gaps and distance between us.
What do you think are the biggest barriers when it comes to making the UK more digital? 
In my opinion, the biggest barrier is securing timely access to land to deliver our infrastructure. If a landowner simply ignores our requests to negotiate access to their land and there are no viable alternative routes, we are often forced to withdraw our investment in that area. This can have a domino effect that can result in us descoping whole communities from our build plans.
However, the Government recently consulted on plans to address this issue and we look forward to hearing its proposals.
From your perspective, what is the next big milestone for the UK telecoms industry and when do you hope to see it achieved?
That is a great question. For me, the big one will be seeing if the Government can hit its 85% gigabit capable coverage goal by 2025. It’s certainly an ambitious goal, and it only gets harder as time goes on, as many operators will focus on the easiest to connect premises first.
The UK’s leading connectivity event, Connected Britain 2021, is taking place right now! Follow #ConnectedBritain on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to keep up with the latest action!
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