Fastershire is a partnership between Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council to bring faster broadband to the two counties, with funding from central government’s Broadband Delivery UK matched by the local authorities. The ultimate aim is that by the end of 2019/20 there will be access to fast broadband for all who need it.
However, Fastershire is not only about technology, the project also includes social and digital inclusion activities, and an extensive business support programme, FasterBusiness. The programme is designed to help small and medium size businesses get the most from fibre broadband and be more competitive. In fact, it is expected that Fastershire will help to boost the local economy by £420m over the next ten years.
Fastershire will revolutionise the way that people of all ages across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire work, learn and play, and will benefit generations to come.
Phase 2 of the Fastershire rollout of faster broadband across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be based around four areas (area 1, 2, 3(A-E) & 4) and will comprise of premises that were not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout.
Each went through its own consultation and procurement process to secure a supplier to carry out the deployment.
Gigaclear was awarded the contract to deliver phase 2 in the Cotswolds in summer 2015. The first digging for our delivery of ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises to parts of the Cotswolds began in October 2015 and is now complete.
The rollout covered areas of Andoversford, Bibury, Bourton On The Water, Cirencester, Coberley, Coln St.Aldwyn, Cricklade, Fairford, Fossebridge, Guiting Power, Kemble, Kempsford, Lechlade, Miserden, North Cerney, Northleach, Poulton, South Cerney, Southrop, Stow-On-The-Wold, Windrush and Withington not upgraded to faster broadband in Phase 1.
Phase 1 of the Fastershire strategy has provided approximately 90% of the homes and businesses across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire with access to superfast broadband and speeds of 30Mbps or above.
Over the next two years, phase 2 of the project’s strategy will increase total superfast coverage to around 98%, as phase 2 seeks to provide faster broadband to premises that were not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout.
Stage 3 of the Fastershire rollout sees BT continuing to deliver in Hereford, Gloucestershire and Cheltenham and build on their commercial deployment.
Gigaclear has been awarded the Fastershire delivery contract for rural areas of the county.
Gigaclear is a wholesale network provider and internet service provider (ISP) who specialise in connecting rural communities by installing its pure fibre network straight into the property.
Pure fibre, also known as Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) offers a more future-proof solution and broadband speeds of up to 1000Mbps. This technology is not affected by how far your home is from the network cabinet and the connection is symmetric so you get the same upload and download speeds.
For the remaining, hardest to reach properties, Fastershire is using a mix of solutions, including a bespoke grants and contract extensions.
Fastershire, in partnership with Connecting Shropshire and Superfast Telford and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, have designed the Marches and Gloucestershire Broadband Grant.
The grant provides up to 100% of the capital installation cost for an eligible SME that not be included in Fastershire’s main rollout and that can demonstrate the economic return.
Fastershire has been awarded funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and has identified a number of significant property clusters that could benefit from this funding.
The procurement process will be completed very soon, with contracts awarded in the summer of 2018 and rollout work following.
For the remaining properties, Fastershire will be exploring possible contract extensions with BT and Gigaclear to provide access to faster broadband.
To read more about the plans please download the full strategy, please click here.
Learn the basics of how to use a smartphone, from learning about apps, picking up emails, using the internet and how to connect to our library WiFi.
Location: Hereford Library, Broad Street, Hereford, HR4 9AU
Date: Monday 25th March 2019
In this free session you will learn how to search the internet safely and effectively. Laptops will be provided for the session.
Location: Ross-on-Wye, Cantilupe Road, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 7AN
Date: Tuesday 26th March 2019
This practical workshop will enable you to manage the digital farm office, gain confidence with online systems and protect your business. Fastershire is partnering with the Herefordshire Rural Hub to provide this free workshop.
Location: Waterend Farm, Dursley, Gloucestershire, GL11 5DR
Date: Thursday 28th March 2019
It's nearly a year since GDPR came into law, and what has changed? This FREE Faster Business workshop will show how small businesses have adapted their approach to comply, and information about the UK Data Protection Act, how Brexit could affect GDPR and cyber security essentials.
Location: Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Coldnose Road, Hereford, HR2 7JS
Date: Friday 29th March 2019
Age UK in Ross-on-Wye have teamed up with Herefordshire Council’s Fastershire project to help to get more people online in south Herefordshire.Read Full Story
Herefordshire has been selected by the Government’s Digital Catapult initiative to devise and pilot a brand new technical solution to improve the lives of elderly people in the county.Read Full Story
Four community cabinets areas went gone live last week, in Gloucestershire, the Aston Magna community cabinet (lot 3d) and Brookthorpe cabinet (3e)are live and providing ultrafast services and in lot 4 Herefordshire, the Acton Green cabinet and Pencombe cabinet are also live.Read Full Story
Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council have recently updated the Fastershire Broadband Strategy outlining how the project aims to achieve the vision that… “by the end of 2019/20 all residents and businesses in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be able to order the broadband service they need and a high percentage will be using faster broadband to do more online, boost business growth and achieve their potential”
The strategy includes a number of stages (3 and 4) which will be delivered in part through a series of procurement exercises.
Each stage will be preceded by an Open Market Review (OMR) and state aid Public Consultation to establish the location of existing and planned (next 3 years) commercial coverage of broadband services across the potential intervention areas by all existing and any prospective, superfast broadband infrastructure providers.
The consultation processes for all stage 3 procurements have been concluded.
The Viable Clusters element of Stage 4 of the Fastershire Broadband Strategy will be delivered in partnership with Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin using EAFRD funding.
The Open Market Review for the Clusters closed on November 3rd 2017.
Following a series of representations, the intended intervention area was refined from 15,269 to 13,664 premises with one Cluster (S11 Church Stretton) being completely removed from the project.
The Public Consultation was published on December 1st 2017 and closed at noon on January 3rd 2017.
Following further representations two clusters (Ludlow and Burwarton) were removed in their entirety leaving the Final Eligible Intervention Area at 13,156 premises, mapped as follows.
An Open OJEU procurement process will follow in early 2018 to identify a supplier or suppliers to deliver the project as a whole or in part.
The partners hosted an Industry Day for potential bidders to explain the project, introduce the selected clusters and discuss the procurement process on Friday 10 November 2017.
We're inviting Primary Schools across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to take part in our filmmaking challenge to create a short film about internet.
Schools are required to produce a 30-60 second film to showcase positive use of the internet and can be an advert, comedy, documentary, ‘how to guide’ or news report.
The competition is designed to help demonstrates the benefits of the internet but also to provide an opportunities for children to use the internet as a learning tool, to search and accesses online resources to help them plan and produce their film.
The films will be uploaded to the Fastershire website and the film with the most views wins £200 for their school.
To help you get started we've compiled some useful resources and 'how to' videos.
Into Film is an Education charity that offers support to teachers and educators to achieve a wide range of effective learning outcomes in their use of film.
Their website offers free resources about all elements of film making, by age and topic.
Young Film Academy
Young Film Academy helps over 7,500 young people each year complete their first films across the UK and is an official London delivery partner for the BFI Film Academy.
As young people now grow up using laptops, tablets and smartphones as if they were second nature, we would like to help them share their skills by teaching a family member how to use the internet.
Fastershire can run competitions with schools across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to encourage students to teach a member of their family the basics of using the internet. At the end of the teaching, the student and the person being taught will be asked to write about the experience and what they've got out of it, and the student will submit this as an entry to the competition.
The Government's Better Broadband Scheme has been extended for a further year until 31st December 2019, ensuring that a subsidised basic broadband installation remains available to eligible applicants.
In support of this extension, BDUK is taking the opportunity to improve the scheme’s processes and functionality in order to deliver a more efficient and effective service.
The existing application process closed at midday on 31st December 2018 and, following a brief pause to implement the necessary changes, BDUK aim to re-launch the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme in January 2019.
However, the eligibility criteria for the scheme is as follows;
Faster broadband is being rolled out across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire between now but it is not possible to flick a switch to make every area go live on the same day and some areas will go live before this. Register your interest today and we will keep you in the loop about developments in your fibre broadband status.