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About Fastershire

About Us

Fastershire is a partnership between Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council to bring faster broadband to the two counties, with funding from central government’s Broadband Delivery UK matched by the local authorities.

  • Phase 1 of the project, in partnership with BT, will see around 90% of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire having access to fibre broadband, with all premises in the project area being able to access a minimum of 2Mbps.
  • Phase 2 of the project will extend fibre coverage further across the county. The Cotswolds is the first area to move into phase 2, with a contract awarded to Gigaclear which will make ultrafast speeds available to over 6,500 of the most difficult to reach rural homes and businesses.

The ultimate aim is that by 2018 there will be access to fast broadband for all who need it. More information on the rollout can be found in our broadband strategy, please click here.

Fastershire is not just about technology. The project also includes social and digital inclusion activities, and an extensive 'Business Support' programme, 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.

The Rollout

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 area will go through its own consultation and procurement process to secure a supplier to carry out the deployment.

Updates for each area can be found below:


Rollout map

Phase 2 Areas

All information, including forecast dates, is indicative only. Forecast dates may move forwards as well as backwards.


  • Area 1: The Cotswolds, comprising premises in milestone area 5 not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 2: The Forest of Dean, comprising premises in milestone area 2 not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3A: Cheltenham and Gloucester not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3B: Hereford not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3C: South Herefordshire and Gloucestershire (west of the Severn) not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3D: North Gloucestershire not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3E: South Gloucestershire not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 4: Comprising premises remaining in north Herefordshire milestone area’s not covered by phase 1 or commercial rollout

Area 1: Cotswolds

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.

Delivery in the Cotswolds is well underway and to date Gigaclear are half way towards the target of 6,500 premises and is expected to complete by summer 2017

Look out for postcards to all addresses which will benefit from this phase of the project. You can also use the Gigaclear line checker to see if your premise is part of this rollout, please click here.

Covers 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.

Please note: If you are not part of this rollout in the Cotswolds, and you did not benefit from Phase 1 or commercial rollout then your address will be considered as part of the Phase 2 rollout across the rest of the county. More details about future plans are available on our Strategy page.

Please note: The phasing and sequence of this rollout is subject to change, and this schedule will be updated to reflect any alterations.

Area 2: Forest of Dean

The procurement process to secure a supplier to deliver phase 2 in the Forest of Dean launched on Monday 8 August and the deadline for bids was Friday 14 October. We hope to be in contract with the successful supplier by Christmas 2016.

Due to the specific funding procured for this area, suppliers are required to provide ultrafast broadband and it is our aspiration is to contract 100% of the remaining premises, but is dependent on bids received.

In December 2016, Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council recommended awarding the contract to Gigaclear to deliver phase two of the Fastershire broadband rollout in parts of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and the Golden Valley in Herefordshire.

Covers areas of Cinderford, Coleford, Drybrook, Longhope, Lydbrook, St.Briavels and Whitecroft not upgraded to faster broadband in Phase 1

Area 3(A-E) & 4: The rest of the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire

The procurement process to select a supplier to deliver area 3 and 4 launched on Monday 19 September.

The deadline for this was Friday 25 November and it is anticipated that we will sign a contract for these areas by March 2017.

Area 3 has been subdivided into five smaller areas:

  • Area 3A: Cheltenham and Gloucester 
  • Area 3B: Hereford
  • Area 3C: South Herefordshire and Gloucestershire (west of the Severn) 
  • Area 3D: North Gloucestershire 
  • Area 3E: South Gloucestershire 
  • Area 4: North Herefordshire 

 

Fastershire Strategy

Phase one of the rollout aimed to provide faster broadband for the majority of homes and businesses across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire by the end of 2016. Additionally, every home and business in the eligible area will have access to the government's Universal Service Commitment of a minimum of 2Mbps.

However, we want to bring faster broadband to more homes and businesses across the two counties. As we gain a clearer picture of what will and will not be achieved by the current contract, and with new funding opportunities now becoming available, we can start to plan how we will reach those homes and businesses which will not experience an uplift in speed as a result of either commercial investment or through the current contract.

Superfast Extension Programme

Herefordshire and Gloucestershire have been provisionally allocated £10.98m additional funding from Central Government to be matched by both authorities. This fund will run from 2015 and aims to achieve 95% fibre coverage nationally.

Alternative Funding

There will be European Regional Development funding available from the next EU programme. Also the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs have announced that the new European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development programme 2013-20 can support NGA Broadband projects in the final 5%.

The revised Fastershire broadband strategy (December 2015) outlines how these funds will be used to meet the project’s ambition, that everyone in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be able to access the broadband services they need by the end of 2018.

The new strategy reflects the changes in technology that are more suited to deploying fibre in rural and hard to reach areas, new providers entering the market as potential suppliers and funding opportunities.

Future stages of the project will focus on the areas that have not been reached and are yet to benefit from fibre broadband. These geographic areas will be broken into five individual lots that will enable us to procure new solutions within these areas.

To read more about the plans please download the full strategy, please click here.

Better Broadband Scheme

The Better Broadband Scheme has been developed by the UK government and aims to provide access to a basic broadband service that will offer speeds of at least 2Mbps.

The scheme will provide an eligible household and business with a unique ordering code that will cover most of the installation cost of a basic broadband service. 

This is available to residents and businesses in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Hereford as well as the rest of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

Eligibility criteria

Households and businesses can take advantage of the scheme if they meet the following three criteria.

  1. Your current broadband download capacity is below 2Mbps.
  2. There are no alternative affordable broadband services available to you which would provide a download speed of at least 2Mbps.
  3. There are no plans to provide superfast broadband to your location within six to 12 months of your application.

If you think you would benefit from a better broadband connection, you can start the process now by following the process and registering below.

How to apply
  • Review the providers and their products, click here
  • Start the process by registering below 
  • If you are eligible, you will be sent a unique order code
  • Using the order code, place an order with your chosen provider
  • Your chosen provider will arrange installation and will claim the installation cost from Fastershire
  • And you’re ready to go!

Click here to Register >

Click here for a list of Providers >

Events

3 May 2017
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Practical introduction into video production for business

This FREE workshop from Faster Business will teach you how to create engaging video content, even if you’re a small business with a smartphone there’s a way to make video and photography work for you.

 

Location: Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Coldnose Road, Rotherwas, Hereford, HR2 7JS

Date: Wednesday 3rd May 2017

Time: 10:00-15:30

More
8 May 2017
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FREE Beginners' Guide to the Internet (five week course)

Learn how to send email, search for information, stay safe, shop online, use social media and more, with the help of a friendly and helpful tutor. We will have computers there for you to ‘have a go’ and discover the wonders of the internet.

 

Location: Hereford Library, Broad Street, Hereford HR4 9AU

Date: Monday 8th May 2017

Time: 10:30-12:30

More
15 May 2017
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FREE Beginners' Guide to the Internet (five week course)

Learn how to send email, search for information, stay safe, shop online, use social media and more, with the help of a friendly and helpful tutor. We will have computers there for you to ‘have a go’ and discover the wonders of the internet.

 

Location: Hereford Library, Broad Street, Hereford HR4 9AU

Date: Monday 15th May 2017

Time: 10:30-12:30

More
16 May 2017
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Absolute Beginners' Guide to Social Media

Find out how to create Facebook and Twitter accounts, connect with people and control what people can see about you. We will have computers there for you to ‘have a go’ and discover how to keep in contact with friends and family using social media

 

Location: Kington Library, The Kington Centre, 64 Bridge Street, Kington, HR5 3DJ

Date: Tuesday 16th May 2017

Time: 10:00-12:00

More
19 May 2017
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Online Tools & Training

Faster Business advisor, Frances Davison, will profile the online tools and training that can help you improve your website, how you manage your social media accounts as well as learn about the 100’s of tutorials and tips for pretty much anything IT related.

 

Location: Civic Suite, North Warehouse,The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP

Date: Friday 19th May 2017

Time: 12:00-14:00

More
22 May 2017
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FREE Beginners' Guide to the Internet (five week course)

Learn how to send email, search for information, stay safe, shop online, use social media and more, with the help of a friendly and helpful tutor. We will have computers there for you to ‘have a go’ and discover the wonders of the internet.

 

Location: Hereford Library, Broad Street, Hereford HR4 9AUH

Date: Monday 22nd May 2017

Time: 10:30-12:30

More
5 Jun 2017
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FREE Beginners' Guide to the Internet (five week course)

Learn how to send email, search for information, stay safe, shop online, use social media and more, with the help of a friendly and helpful tutor. We will have computers there for you to ‘have a go’ and discover the wonders of the internet.

 

Location: Hereford Library, Broad Street, Hereford HR4 9AU

Date: Monday 5th June 2017

Time: 10:30-12:30

More
8 Jun 2017
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Staying Safe Online

Whether its computer viruses, Trojan horses, phishing attacks, spam emails or cybercrime this friendly, FREE and informal training session will help you keep you and your family safe online.

 

Location: Ross-on-Wye Library, Cantilupe Road, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7AN

Date: Thursday 8th June 2017

Time: 10:00-12:00

More
26 Jun 2017
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Absolute Beginners' Guide to Social Media

Find out how to create Facebook and Twitter accounts, connect with people and control what people can see about you. We will have computers there for you to ‘have a go’ and discover how to keep in contact with friends and family using social media

 

Location: Hereford Library, Broad Street, Hereford HR4 9AU

Date: Monday 26th June 2017 ~ Tuesday 16th May 2017

Time: 10:30-12:30

More

Latest News

More homes and businesses in the Forest of Dean and Golden Valley set to benefit from faster broadband

1st December, 2016
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Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council have today recommended awarding the contract to Gigaclear to deliver phase two of the Fastershire broadband rollout in parts of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and the Golden Valley in Herefordshire.

The £4.54m contract award will see over 2,600 of the hardest to reach homes and businesses in the area benefit from ultrafast broadband using a full fibre network delivered by Gigaclear. 

The contract award made by Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council with financial support from BDUK means that premises will be able to access speeds of up to 1GB with fibre directly to the home.

The plan to deliver fibre to the home pre-empts the chancellor’s announcement last week to help at least two million UK homes and business get access to full fibre broadband. 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council said, “Access to a fast and reliable digital connection is becoming more and more important for families and businesses here in Gloucestershire and right across the UK. 

“We’re making a real difference to peoples’ lives, enabling the fibre network to reach some of the most rural areas where larger suppliers were not prepared to go. Faster broadband connection remain a priority to our economy, education and supporting our communities. The Fastershire project is pushing the boundaries of the technologies available with this next stage a key step in meeting the ambitions of the two counties.

“That’s why phase two of our Fastershire project focuses on using new and emerging technology to deliver full fibre solutions to some of the hardest to reach premises across the county.”

"Cllr David Harlow, cabinet member from Herefordshire Council added, “It’s positive that the Government has recognised the importance of "full-fibre" or fibre to the premise (FTTP) access and Fastershire has already made a significant investment in this technology.” 

“It’s a measure of the project’s success that currently 15% of the properties in Herefordshire have access to full-fibre and is in stark contrast to the recent news that only 2% of properties across the UK can access the more future proof technology.”

“By making the recommendation to award the contract to Gigaclear to deliver phase two in parts of the Forest of Dean and the Golden Valley Fastershire will significantly increase the number of rural homes and businesses that can access ultrafast broadband.”

In June 2015 Gigaclear were also awarded a contract by Fastershire to deliver ultrafast broadband through their full fibre network to over 6,500 homes and businesses in the Cotswolds as part of a second phase rollout in the district. Delivery is well underway is this area with over 3900 premises now able to access ultrafast speeds. The rollout is expected to complete in summer 2017.

Phase two of the Fastershire project is building on the phase 1 rollout delivered by BT which has already enabled over 78,000 premises in Gloucestershire and over 37,000 in Herefordshire with access to faster broadband over 30Mbps.

A further contract to cover the rest of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire under phase two is expected to be announced early next year. 

Updates on the phase 2 rollout of the Fastershire project can be found here.

Industry Consultations

Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council have recently launched the Fastershire Broadband Strategy 2015-18 outlining how the project aims to achieve the vision that…

“By the end of 2018 everyone in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be able to access the broadband services they need”.

The strategy includes a number of stages (namely stages 3.1 to 3.5) which will be delivered through a series of brand new 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.

Stage 3.1

Following an Open procurement process, Gigaclear were contracted to deliver Lot 1 in June 2015.

The Public Consultation on Lot 1 ‘The Cotswolds’ formally closed on 31 January 2015. As no responses were received, the intervention area for Lot 1 remained unchanged.

Stage 3.2

The public consultation for Lot 2 closed on 17th June. No representations were received that affected the Lot 2 area and therefore the Intended Intervention Area became the eligible area of the Lot 2 ITT which was released on Monday 8 August 2016 and will close to submissions on Friday 30 September.

Stage 3.3 & 3.4

The Public Consultation on the Intended Intervention Area for Lots 3 and 4 of Stage 3 of the Fastershire Broadband Strategy 2015-18 closed on September 28th 2016.  A number of responses were received from private sector providers and as a result the total Eligible Intervention Area for Lots 3 and 4 is 48,569.

Following this refinement, the Actual Intervention Areas for Lots 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e and 4 have been locked down and are identified in the Deployment Plans of each Lot which can be accessed in the Fastershire Broadband Strategy 2015-18 Stage 3 Lot 3 and 4 opportunity document library on the Supplying the Southwest tender portal www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk.

Please note that the cumulative number of premises in the Actual Intervention Areas for Lots 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e and 4 totals 47,603 and that not all eligible premises have been included in the 6 Lots.

 

Stage 3.5

TBC

Stage 4

Looking towards Stage 4 of the Fastershire Broadband Strategy 2015-18, Fastershire is working with its partners Connecting Shropshire and Superfast Telford to secure European Funding to provide subsidies direct to SMEs across the Marches and Gloucestershire who may not benefit from the earlier stages of the Strategy to enable them to access faster broadband services.

Suppliers were invited to a joint supplier engagement briefing in Shrewsbury on March 4th 2016.

To access the slide pack from the event click here. For the avoidance of doubt, this event was not the commencement of any formal procurement process and the partner Councils are not committed to carrying out such a process.

Faster Schools

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.

You can download PDFs of our training guides to use in training sessions or for your own learning...

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Faster broadband is being rolled out across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire between now and the end of 2018. It is not possible to flick a switch to make every area go live on the same day, so 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.