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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 by the end of 2019/20 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

We have awarded a contract to Gigaclear to deliver the phase 2 rollout in parts of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and the Golden Valley in Herefordshire not upgraded to faster broadband in Phase 1.
 
Deployment is expected to start in July 2017.

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

Area 3A-B (Cheltenham and Gloucester) and area 3B (Hereford)
 
The procurement process for these areas has closed and we hope to award the contact shortly. 
 
We will publish details of the deployment when the contact has been signed.   
 
Area 3(C-E) & 4: The rest of the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire
 
We have awarded a contract to Gigaclear to deliver the phase two rollout in these areas not upgraded to faster broadband in Phase 1. 
  • Area 3C (South Herefordshire) - July 2017
  • Area 3D (North Gloucestershire) - September 2017
  • Area 3E (South Gloucestershire) - June 2018
  • Area 4 (North Herefordshire) - TBC 
To find out if your property is included in this next phase of rollout please use our address checker at the top of the page.
 

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 (September 2017) 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 2019/20.

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.

 

Primary School Film Competition 2017

In partnership with Herefordshire Council, we invited Primary Schools to take part in our challenge to create a short film about internet.

Schools were 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.

This film competition is designed not only 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 film with the most views wins £200 for their school and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 3 January at 11:30am.

Walford Primary School

Luston Primary School

Ewyas Harold Primary School

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
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

18 Jan 2018
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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Essentials

This FREE Faster Business workshop will help you navigate the minefield of information out there about GDPR.

 

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

Date: Thursday 18th January 2018

Time: 12:00-14:30

More
26 Jan 2018
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Master your Marketing

In this FREE workshop, Faster Business advisor, Ben Kinnaird, will show you how to plan your marketing strategy, budget and content, use online project management tools to get ensure you work is done effectively and measure your success so you can do it again month after month.

 

Location: Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Coldnose Road, HR2 6JS

Date: Friday 26th January 2018

Time: 12:00-14:00

More
9 Feb 2018
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LinkedIn Essentials

In this FREE LinkedIn workshop, Faster Business advisor, Jack McCaughtrie will teach you about the key features of LinkedIn, teach you how to understand the benefits for your small business and establish a simple effective routine that complements your marketing strategy.

 

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

Date: Friday 9th February 2018

Time: 12:00-14:30

More
23 Feb 2018
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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Essentials

This FREE Faster Business workshop will help you navigate the minefield of information out there about GDPR.

 

Location: Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Coldnose Road, HR2 6JS

Date: Friday 23rd February 2018

Time: 12:00-14:00

More
9 Mar 2018
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Get Found Online - Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Essentials

In this FREE workshop from Faster Business our advisor, Ben Kinnaird, will share with you some of the tools and techniques that will help you improve your search engine rankings so you have a best chance of being on the first page of Google.

 

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

Date: Friday 9th March 2018

Time: 12:00-14:30

More
23 Mar 2018
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Instagram & Pinterest Essentials

Increasing these social media platforms are playing a more prominent role in customers’ purchasing decisions and how they engage with products and services. In this FREE workshop, Faster Business advisor, Jack McCaughtrie, will explain how your business can utilise Instagram and Pinterest.

 

Location: Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Coldnose Road, HR2 6JS

Date: Friday 23rd March 2018

Time: 12:00-14:00

More
13 Apr 2018
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Online Advertising Essentials

In this FREE workshop from Faster Business our advisor, Ben Kinnaird, will share with you advice for deciding where and when to advertise, creating interesting adverts and tips for convincing people to click through to your website.

 

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

Date: Friday 13th April 2018

Time: 12:00-14:30

More
27 Apr 2018
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Facebook Advertising Essentials

In this FREE workshop, Faster Business advisor, Jack McCaughtrie, will help you understand how you can use Facebook adverts for increased conversions, decreased costs and find new customers.

 

Location: Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Coldnose Road, HR2 6JS

Date: Friday 27th April 2018

Time: 12:00-14:00

More

Latest News

Ultrafast broadband for rural Herefordshire

24th April, 2017
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Over 8,000 homes and businesses will see major investment in a new full fibre network across Herefordshire resulting in some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country

Herefordshire Council has now signed a contract with Gigaclear to deliver phase 2 of the Fastershire project.  Gigaclear specialises in connecting rural communities by installing pure fibre straight into the home which offers a future-proof solution and broadband speeds of up to 1000Mbps. This will enable some of the hardest to reach homes and businesses across the county to have access to ultrafast broadband under phase 2 of the Fastershire rollout.  

This new rollout will build on what has already been achieved in phase 1 of the project, with over 30,000 premises in the county now able to access a superfast broadband service. As part of the national government and Herefordshire Council funding, this new deployment aims to support the economic vitality and sustain thriving communities across the county and is in addition to BT’s delivery of fibre broadband in more urban areas.  

Leader of Herefordshire Council, Cllr Tony Johnson, said: “This is a major step forward, not only will more communities and businesses have access to fast and reliable internet, but Fastershire is starting to lead the UK in the rollout of full fibre. We’re committed to ensuring that Herefordshire has a broadband network that will benefit the county for many years to come.”

Joe Frost from Gigaclear said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Herefordshire Council, connecting more than 8,000 additional homes and businesses to our ultrafast pure fibre network. Work is due to start this summer and there is no doubt that this will continue to be socially and economically transformative for the most isolated, rural areas of Herefordshire.”

Fastershire has a further contract to award to cover Hereford city and is expected to be announced in June.

Industry Consultations

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.

Stage 3

The consultation processes for all stage 3 procurements have been concluded.

Stage 4 
 
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 has been refined from 15,269 to 13,664 premises with one Cluster (S11 Church Stretton) being completely removed from the project.  This refined Intended Intervention Area has been formatted into an excel based response template.
 
The Public Consultation was published on the ‘Supplying the Southwest Portal’ on December 1st 2017 and will close at noon on January 3rd 2017.
 
To view the documentation related to this consultation you will need to register on the portal www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk     
 
If you are already registered with the Supplying the Southwest portal you may need to update your preferred areas of operation to include Herefordshire Council.
  • Log into your account
  • Click on My Opportunities / Update Company Profile / User Accounts 
  • Click on your account name / Opportunity Areas 
  • Click on Change Opportunity Areas 
  • Either select via “Area”, “All South West” or “By Council”  
  • Check the tick box to add Herefordshire to your selection and “Save”
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.
 
Industry Day
 
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. 

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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96,516 Fast homes
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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.