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ICEE celebrates ten years working with Gigaclear as it pushes the UK towards Ultra-Fast Broadband.

by | Feb 23, 2023

Gigaclear is a fast-growing, constantly-evolving Fibre to the Home company, specialising in Ultra-Fast Broadband, by using full fibre connections right to the property, rather than outdated copper cabling, seen in many areas of the United Kingdom. Through a continued working relationship, ICEE celebrates ten years working with Gigaclear, as one of their leading suppliers of Bespoke Fibre Equipment Cabinets as well as a range of Field Services.

The past 10 years have seen Gigaclear and ICEE Managed Services work together on a variety of different bespoke projects that have evolved and adapted as modern fibre to the home technology changed. From initial concept cabinets, which worked at the time, Gigaclear decided that Bespoke Equipment Enclosures were the next step. Opting for bespoke enclosures allow for future modification, and completely customisable designs ensuring that Gigaclear is able to meet particular requirements, set by the ever-changing technology within Fibre to the Home.

ICEE now makes a range of bespoke cabinets for Gigaclear, increasing the range by two in the past three years. Some examples of these bespoke enclosures range from single drop-down enclosures to variations of a standard or first-generation product, fully bespoke second-generation cabinets, as well as larger bespoke enclosures for dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) operations. Over the years, the process between both companies has been followed extensively; when Gigaclear needed to adapt an enclosure to meet higher demand and larger fibre output, ICEE would begin to design ways to manufacture this, by using highly efficient 3D CAD design programmes, coupled with extremely precise and innovative manufacturing and integration processes.


Gigaclear Cabinet Drop. ICEE celebrates ten years working with Gigaclear.
Chris Arnold, Key Client Account Lead at ICEE Managed Services, explains how the relationship between the two companies has  developed over time. “Working with Gigaclear for the past ten years on a multitude of different projects has been a challenge, but also a greatly rewarding process. From creating and innovating the original enclosure designs, to the 2nd Generation enclosure development and expansion of our installation, electrical and provisioning services assisting Gigaclear. It has always been a collaborative process working with the Gigaclear team throughout and to see it grow into such a successful company is testament to that partner approach”. Tim Durkin, Gigaclear’s Network Development Engineer, supported those claims adding that “Gigaclear’s rollout of PON technology has necessitated an interactive refinement of our designs.
In addition, a change in the way we deploy cabinets required a rethink to our approach for cooling. ICEE offers a blend of turn-key products and bespoke engineering services that provide us with the shortest path to delivery of our cabinets”.

Future Proofing

With Gigaclear growing, especially over the past 10 years, ICEE has been a key player in enabling the company to deliver a top quality and efficient service across its network. Gigaclear’s current footprint covers over 380,000 rural and suburban houses, “and we are currently building at a rate of over 120,000 homes per year, with ambitions to double this rate over the coming years” explains Laura Hobbs, Gigaclear’s Head of Procurement. Laura also continues by saying that “Right-first-time construction, as well as reliable service in life, are key to delivering the high-quality experience that our customers expect of us. To support this, ICEE has focused on attention to detail, consistent quality, speed of response and agility to allow us to deliver this service”.

An original Gigaclear Cabinet design. ICEE celebrates ten years working with Gigaclear.
Currently the UK market is highly competitive and undergoing a period of extreme diversification and competition with factors such as cost and supply chain reliability more critical than ever. ICEE has recently helped manage the repurposing of old technology to new to avoid both unnecessary waste and extra cost – another step to demonstrating what true supplier collaboration can achieve.

A Complete Solution From ICEE

Zzoomm found the ideal solution in a highly integrated, one-source package from ICEE Managed Services. Based on four decades proven experience delivering successful outcomes to large and small telecommunication customers, ICEE would have no problem providing the total solution required. Specialising in designing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining enclosures for highway, rail-side and FTTx applications, it offered all the relevant business credentials, quality standards accreditation and track record required. Sven Huster explained: “For us to undertake that whole process by ourselves, without having an engineering R&D function and so on, would be quite difficult to do, and that’s why it was important to pick a partner like ICEE, that can help us with the expertise and advise on the equipment we want to use.” He and his team began working closely with ICEE’s design department. Early in the project, at the prototype stage when the first enclosure was being developed, the internet service provider wanted to insert an equipment assembly into the active cabinet, but in one large piece. It was hard to fit in from the front, so ICEE quickly modified the structure enabling the whole assembly to be easily manoeuvred in from one side. This meant creating a side door, tested at the design stage on a screen-based, three-dimensional prototype constructed on ICEE’s Solidworks 3D CAD system. ICEE does a lot of screen-based, virtual prototyping using 3D simulations. Options may be explored rapidly and accurately, it eliminates building several costly physical iterations, design for manufacture is optimised, right-first-time production made faster, and the work may be done collaboratively over the web, saving meeting time and travel.

Another bespoke benefit

ICEE Key Account Manager Chris Arnold points to another practical design feature: “The active cabinet we designed with Zzoomm consists of two distinct bays, one for power, the other for equipment. This clear separation makes it easier and simpler for a maintenance engineer to work. It cuts the risk of accidental damage and gets jobs done more efficiently.” To prevent unauthorised entry into a cabinet Zzoomm also required a high level of security, plus a way of monitoring and recording access by authorised engineers. “The locks and keys we sourced for Zzoomm are smart and incorporate Bluetooth wireless communications,” explains Chris Arnold. “The company’s management sends an engineer out to a cabinet and through Bluetooth-enabled keys and the engineer’s mobile phone, unlocks and locks the cabinet doors remotely and records job time. Full security is assured and the transmitted data helps streamline maintenance, provides an audit or traceability trail and ultimately, makes a positive contribution to business process productivity and profitability.”

Outcomes and tangible benefits

With all ICEE’s design, development and manufacturing resources, plus dependable installation and ongoing maintenance services, Zzoomm has gained an experienced and dependable partner. The customer also has full confidence, knowing ICEE will reliably and fully support its business growth plans. In short, the customer benefits from the provision of a complete and scalable support solution. This is vital as the ambitious ISP expands to other towns across the UK. Sven Huster concluded: “I was told by my colleagues ICEE would be a great partner to work with. I think everything I have seen so far supports that. First of all, they have the expertise on what we want to achieve, but they also have the relationships as well. “This is important because the cabinet is not just what they make, which is like a metal shell and so on, but it is a lot of things which then get put into the cabinet, which they source and help us put together in a useful way, so we have a durable and robust solution there. They have always been quick to respond and that reinforces the sense we have picked a good partner to work with us.”